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Business supports green growth platform in Pacific Alliance region

Business supports green growth platform in Pacific Alliance region

By Nicolette Bartlett, Senior Programme Manager, Cambridge Institute for Sustainability Leadership

3 May 2016

On 22 April 2016, 175 countries gathered together in New York to sign the Paris Agreement and signal their continued support for climate action. The climate negotiations in Paris last year represented a major step forward for climate action but the focus now needs to be implementation. This is particularly true of emerging economies if we are going to truly transform our economies.

We are certainly beginning to see the developing world really take a lead on this transformation. Indeed, the smallest developing countries were among the first to ratify the Paris Agreement following the signing ceremony. In Latin America, the ministers of environment of the Pacific Alliance countries announced a platform to collaborate around green growth, ‘Plataforma de Crecimiento Verde’. This declaration, the first of its kind in the region, signals the regions intention to harness a new way of operating and will help catalyse action in this area in the region. 

These are but two small examples among a host of emerging demonstrations of leadership. You might say this is in contrast to what is happening in some parts of the developed world, the EU for example, where we have seen criticism from some quarters about its ambition in light of the Paris Agreement. What I consider to be most interesting is that this leadership is also coming from the private sector in emerging economies. This is significant and could mark a whole new chapter in climate action in developing countries.

This week, 27 companies with operations across Pacific Alliance countries added their voice in support of climate action by pledging their commitment to work with government to create a supportive environment for green growth. The letter welcomes last month’s declaration and demonstrates the desire for a deeper form of collaboration in the region – both within countries and between public and private sectors. It marks an opportunity for government and the private sector to collaborate together from the beginning to help achieve real and lasting change in the region.

The establishment of the Pacific Alliance itself has meant an increase in the intra-movement of goods, services, resources and people between Chile, Colombia, Mexico and Peru. The aim in this is to increase the competitiveness and attractiveness of the Alliance globally.  It is a very ambitious undertaking with a strong focus on innovation and integration and a strong can-do agenda centered on new business opportunities.

The question now becomes – can this collaboration catalyse sustainable growth for the region? Does the creation of this platform signal a new chapter for the region? If this platform is to succeed, it will need to go beyond a pure ‘Environment’ conversation – it will need to anchor itself in the real economy.  

There are lessons that can be drawn from the European Union Green Growth Platform, a forum of Ministers, CEOs, MEPs and experts from 16 countries who come to together to debate and discuss green growth issues. The platform has taken a very mainstream economic approach, looking at issues such as low carbon solutions that enable jobs, growth and competitiveness; climate finance; climate security and energy intensive industries. Part of the platform’s success comes from the early involvement of the private-sector, to help meet challenges and realise opportunities. The University of Cambridge Institute for Sustainability Leadership (CISL) provides the secretariat for the platform.

The ministers’ declaration and letter from business outlined above was inspired by the activities of the EU GGP and builds on a series of events and roundtables CISL has been supporting since the climate negotiations in Peru in 2014.

In the wake of the historic Paris Agreement signing ceremony in New York this letter provides another signal to the world that a new economic transformation is underway. It is great that leadership is emerging not just from the governments of these countries but also from the private sector. If their ambition is achieved, the platform and the Alliance could become an inspiring example of collaborative innovation around green growth for other regions around the world.

About the author

Nikki BartlettNicolette Bartlett leads on international climate projects within our policy team, including developing a Green Growth Platform in Pacific Alliance countries, the Paris Pledge for Action and research analysing the role that non-state actors play in driving down emissions.

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Articles on the blog written by employees of the University of Cambridge Institute for Sustainability Leadership (CISL) do not necessarily represent the views of, or endorsement by, the Institute or the wider University of Cambridge.