CEO climate summit spurs dialogue on decarbonization
Istanbul, 14 June 2023 – In the first such gathering following the formation of the new Government, more than 200 top business executives and bankers – some of them from the most carbon-intensive sectors of the economy – gathered today in Istanbul to exchange views on the efforts needed to ensure a “green transformation” in Türkiye.
The “Climate Change Summit 2023: Green Transformation” was organized by the Capital and Economist magazines in cooperation with the Türkiye’s Ministry of Environment, Urbanization and Climate Change and the United Nations Development Programme (UNDP). Over 200 CEO-level executives attended the summit.
“Climate change is one of the most important problems facing humanity and nature,” said Mehmet Özhaseki, the new Minister of Environment, Urbanization and Climate Change, in a statement prepared for the summit. “However, it is also obvious that current efforts to achieve global climate targets are not enough, and larger-scale technological and economic transformations are needed.”
“Türkiye is taking decisive steps in the fight against climate change,” Özhaseki continued, citing the ratification of the Paris Agreement and the 2053 net zero emission target announced by the President in 2021 as beginning the country’s green transformation.
“We have updated our Nationally Determined Contribution (NDC), increasing the reduction target for 2030 from 21 percent in 2015 to 41 percent. Türkiye is set on a roadmap to net zero in 2053, beginning with this accelerated NDC, and implementing our long-term climate strategy, our mitigation and adaptation action plans and our green financing strategy. To realize these policies, we are establishing necessary infrastructure including a Climate Law and an Emissions Trading System.”
“The green transformation we are embracing can only be realized with the state, private sector and academia working together as a whole,” Özhaseki continued. “The private sector must put the green transformation on their main agenda and focus their efforts for accelerated change on the road to net zero in 2053,” the Minister concluded.
“Our call is for greater ambition,” said UNDP Resident Representative Louisa Vinton, underlining the UN Secretary-General’s call for developed countries to advance their net zero targets to 2040. “With strong private sector engagement, we are confident that Türkiye can bring its peak year for climate emissions far closer than what is now planned, for 2038.”
“Private business continues to generate most of the harmful emissions that cause climate change,” continued Vinton, in opening the conference. “But this means that business also holds the key to the climate solutions we so urgently need. At UNDP we count on the ingenuity and resilience of Turkish business to devise ways to decarbonize production and accelerate the timetable for compliance with the Paris goals.”
The heads of some of the country’s largest business concerns, including Limak Cement, Sabancı Holding, Eczacıbasi and Anadolu Isuzu, detailed the ways in which they are charting the course to a greener future, while representatives of leading Turkish banks, including ŞekerBank, Denizbank, ING and TSKB, described the financial incentives that await companies opting for greener solutions.
Cem Başar, CEO of Capital and Economist Magazines, said he was pleased with the productive discussions on climate policy by leading business figures.
Many speakers referred to climate-friendly policy frameworks such as the European Union’s Green Deal and the country’s upcoming Climate Law and Emissions Trading System, both expected to be adopted later in 2023, as exerting a decisive impact on corporate decision making. Greener sourcing and more environmentally friendly production methods will be essential to maintaining a competitive position in the EU marketplace, it was agreed.
But many executives also noted the strong economic payoffs in shifting to renewables and energy efficiency.
“At UNDP we are confident that the green economy is a win-win solution for business,” said Vinton. “Adjusting is not always easy, of course, and mapping out a ‘just transition’ for outmoded sectors is essential, so that, for instance, workers and communities that depend on coal are offered a dignified future. That said, the net benefits are clear and quantifiable, and at UNDP we look forward to continuing to provide both policy advice and field-tested solutions to help Türkiye’s private sector realize its potential as a pioneering leader of a green transformation worldwide.”
“In short, going green is good for business,” Vinton concluded…