Virtual approach will allow largest climate week to continue, whatever Coronavirus travel restrictions are in place at the time.
New York, NY – April 6, 2020 – Today, The Climate Group, has announced that Climate Week NYC will not be postponed and will take place as scheduled on September 21-27, 2020.
Climate Week NYC will launch a virtual platform that will host all major events to ensure that delegates and speakers can join irrespective of any restrictions at the time. This will allow far more businesses, citizens and politicians across North America and the world to join. In an election year for the United States, and the first year of the climate decade, this will allow for a stronger focus on whole US and international participation in the program.
The approach will ensure that should the situation in September limit the scale of physical events, a full program can still happen through a virtual platform.
The decision is even more critical given that COP26, the annual UN hosted national climate summit, is to be postponed until 2021. It will ensure that the growing momentum seen over the last few years from campaigners can continue, with forward looking climate leaders able to demonstrate that 2020, a year of huge government intervention, can still deliver huge climate action.
Climate Week NYC is run in association with the United Nations and the City of New York. It brings together national, state and regional government leaders, businesses and the broader climate sector to accelerate climate action. Last year, over 350 events took place throughout New York City as part of the official program, which brought together political announcements, business leadership events, and grassroots activity.
Helen Clarkson, CEO of The Climate Group, commented:
“We have made the decision that we cannot afford to cancel or delay the important conversations, commitments and negotiations that need to take place. The decision to postpone COP26 to 2021 was undoubtedly the correct thing to do to allow diplomatic negotiations to take place at a time when they can be given the right level of focus. We believe that Climate Week NYC has an important role to play in supporting that process at a time when it will be needed most.”
“The sweeping international pandemic has been upmost in our minds as we have made this decision, especially as New York City and New York State have suffered so severely in recent weeks. However, necessity is the mother of invention and through technology, we can not only deliver Climate Week NYC in 2020, but also showcase what a truly successful virtual offering can look like.”
“Every year we say, “For New York, For the World,” and this year will be no different. NYC will be hosting an even greater global effort in tackling climate change. We believe in a just transition; climate action must be carried out in a way that protects livelihoods. The Coronavirus pandemic has shown how our global community is willing to care and able to change.”
Kathy Hochul, Lieutenant Governor of New York said:
“We are leading the nation with our aggressive efforts to make New York more efficient and reduce greenhouse gas emissions. Climate Week NYC brings experts and stakeholders together to advance our collective goals to make the state cleaner and greener. We are committed to building on our ambitious clean energy agenda to protect the environment, create new jobs for the future, and combat climate change.”
Daniel Zarrilli, NYC’s Chief Climate Policy Advisor, said:
“As New York City is focused on an immediate public health crisis, we cannot lose sight of the looming climate crisis and the threats to public health and well-being that it will cause.
“Looking toward September, New York City is proud to again serve as the global host for Climate Week – this year being done with an innovative, digital-first approach. We applaud The Climate Group for taking this creative action as we adjust to new realities in a way that still pushes forward the collaboration necessary to confront our climate crisis. Here in New York City, we remain committed to ending the age of fossil fuels and investing in clean energy climate solutions as part of our world-leading Green New Deal climate policy. Taking on the fossil fuel industry, getting our emissions to net zero, building greater resiliency citywide, and making sure all New Yorkers have a fair opportunity to thrive — these may not be easy, but they are necessary if we are to secure a livable future for the next generation.”
Basil Seggos, New York State Department of Environmental Conservation Commissioner, said:
"Climate Week NYC is a critical opportunity to bring together scientists and policymakers from around the world to advance our collective efforts. The COVID-19 pandemic has shredded the premise that government can ignore science. Climate change is an irrefutable scientific fact and New York communities have already experienced its wrath in the form of flooding and severe storms. Under Governor Cuomo's leadership, New York is advancing its efforts to reduce greenhouse gas emissions, including the critical work of the Climate Action Council, to establish the pathway to a zero-carbon future."
Alicia Barton, President and CEO of NYSERDA said:
“This event illustrates the existential threat climate change poses to us and how only through a collaborative effort will we ensure a cleaner and greener planet for generations to come. We have witnessed Governor Cuomo’s resolute and unwavering leadership through the COVID-19 crisis, and it is that same leadership that New York and others around the world who will gather for Climate Week 2020 are demonstrating each day to ensure we are advancing clean energy solutions to meet our climate goals.”
Fred Dixon, President and CEO, NYC & Company said:
“We are pleased to once again collaborate with the Climate Group to advance the dialogue around climate change through Climate Week NYC. Even in these challenging times, we are eager to do our part to ensure that climate action continues to be a priority and that New York City’s tourism industry supports this critically important mission.”
Visit www.climateweeknyc.org or follow #ClimateWeekNYC to receive regular announcements and keep up to date with Climate Week NYC 2020.
Notes to editors
This year saw the biggest Climate Week event on Earth to date; Climate Week NYC, encompassing the United Nations Secretary-General’s Climate Action Summit and a significant upsurge of youth-led climate activism.
Crucially, the week provided a global stage that inspired participation and action from businesses, governments and civil society. All eyes were truly on New York City, with the hashtag #ClimateWeekNYC trending in the city and garnering more than 807,000,000 impressions on social media across the month of September.
Hosting presidents, policymakers, business leaders and campaigners, Climate Week NYC 2019 brought together all those fighting to tackle climate change with the most ambitious and comprehensive program to date. Over 350 events took place across the city – more than doubling last year’s record – including more than 20 events hosted by The Climate Group, as well as bilateral meetings, networking sessions and interviews.
The Opening Ceremony, which took place ahead of the UN Secretary-General’s Climate Action Summit, set the tone for the challenges and opportunities ahead. The morning boasted a stellar speaker line up of world leaders, U.S. governors and global business chiefs, including; Carlos Alvarado Quesada, the President of the Republic of Costa Rica; Pedro Sanchez, the President of the Government of Spain; Mette Frederiksen, the Prime Minister of Denmark; Governor Newsom of California; Governor Inslee of Washington State; Angel Gurria, Secretary-General of the OECD; John Kerry, the former U.S. Secretary of State; Alan Jope, CEO of Unilever and Isabelle Kocher, CEO of ENGIE Group.
The Hub this year continued to establish itself as a central platform for businesses, governments and the wider climate community to tackle the most pressing issues in the fight against climate change. Over 1,000 delegate attended various sessions across the two days, inspiring discussions and providing solutions, as well as facilitating new partnerships to extend action beyond Climate Week NYC.
In addition, more than 20 new business commitments were made on cleaner, smarter energy as part of our corporate leadership initiatives, meaning that almost 300 multinationals across every major sector are now committed to climate action. Overall these members represent US$5.5 trillion in combined revenue, with operations in more than 140 markets and comprising more than 16 million employees – almost double the workforce of New York State.
A particularly noteworthy announcement at the opening ceremony came from RE100 member, Unilever, on its remarkable progress towards the goal of becoming a carbon neutral company before 2030. The business revealed that its operations across five continents – including factories, offices, R&D facilities, data centers, warehouses and distribution centers – are now powered by 100% renewable grid electricity. While this is a hugely impressive achievement, what’s equally significant was an honest discussion about the challenges of accessing renewables at some of Unilever’s global sites. This is yet another example of how multinational companies can send a strong demand signal directly to markets where renewables are harder to source, helping to accelerate the transition to clean energy.
Off the main stage, hundreds of side events kept the city engaged with the global climate agenda, from film screenings and panel discussions to nature walks and theatre shows. For the first time, Climate Week NYC also proudly partnered with Global Citizen to host a Youth and Activism program to highlight the global leadership of young people and their influence on climate action, as well as providing an opportunity for them to host, attend and support events and activities taking place during the week.
Reflecting on the discussions, debates, commitments and actions that have come out of this year’s Climate Week NYC, it’s clear there is a shared vision across our powerful network of governments and businesses to shape the world for the better.
Next year’s Climate Week NYC will take place between September 21 – 27 2020, alongside the United Nations General Assembly, just weeks ahead of a significant U.S. election and a critical COP26 in the United Kingdom. Our work is cut out for us, but we know what needs to be done: we must halve global emissions in the next 10 years. So, it’s time to buckle up – the Climate Decade is coming.
By Suzanne DiBianca, Chief Impact Officer and EVP of Corporate Relations, Salesforce
“This is not a climate negotiation summit. You don’t negotiate with nature. This is a climate action summit,” proclaimed the United Nations Secretary-General in his opening speech at the UN Climate Action Summit.
This sentiment deeply resonated throughout the week as world leaders, CEOs, government officials, business leaders, global investors, and young entrepreneurs gathered in NYC for the United Nations General Assembly and Climate Week NYC 2019 to declare commitments to sustainability and climate action and call for climate optimism. The kind of optimism that turns righteous anger and impatience into action.
If we’re going to beat the worst consequences of a changing climate, we need to move from words to action and take a multi-stakeholder approach— businesses alongside government and nonprofit agencies have to work together.
The UN Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) have created a nonpartisan, non-political blueprint that allows all sectors to collaborate with each other in a focused way. At Salesforce, our global strategy is guided in large part by the SDGs and will help us create a positive impact on our communities and the planet.
BUSINESS AS A PLATFORM FOR CHANGE
Now more than ever, it is of vital importance for businesses to become climate advocates. We’re facing down irreparable harm to our planet, so we need all businesses to use not only their influence but also their core competencies and rapid innovation to create solutions that will tackle climate change.
At Salesforce, the environment is a key stakeholder. We are focused on creating a sustainable, low-carbon future as we drive towards our Step Up Declaration commitments, deliver a carbon-neutral cloud for all customers and aim to reach 100 percent renewable energy by 2022 through The Climate Group’s RE100 initiative.
Last month, we launched Salesforce Sustainability Cloud—a new carbon accounting product for businesses to drive climate action that will accelerate the world’s efforts towards carbon neutrality. Our goal is to bring the full power of the Salesforce platform to create technology that drives positive impact, and propels forward the SDGs.
And while the pressure builds on all businesses to become more sustainable -- to adapt their supply chains to address carbon emission goals, manufacture with sustainable products or meet fair labor practices, technology innovations like blockchain and artificial intelligence can help power this work further and faster. Blockchain is a game-changer for transparency and responsibility in the supply chain, and AI can help companies address environmental issues more intelligently and act more quickly.
These technologies, along with all of our involvement, are part of the solution we need.
DRIVING CHANGE TOGETHER
We saw some powerful new ideas come from young entrepreneurs at the first ever UN Youth Climate Summit. Young leaders from around the world stood on stage to deliver remarkable technology innovations, such as offering an alternative to data centers with a new type of organic cloud that emits oxygen rather than CO2, and an app for farmers to prevent crop failures and achieve 3x higher grain production annually. These young people are driving a movement and giving us climate optimism. They are inspiring business leaders around the world to not just speak up and make commitments but to take real action. Action the planet will actually notice.
Nearly 1,000 companies globally have joined We Mean Business, a global nonprofit coalition working with the world’s most influential businesses to take action on climate change, and over 670 companies are taking science-based climate action. Businesses are also acting through The Climate Group’s RE100, EV100 and EP100 initiatives, with members including multinationals across every major sector, representing a combined revenue of US$5.5 trillion.
During Climate Week NYC, 87 major companies aligned to commit to set climate targets across their operations and value chains aligned with limiting global temperature rise to 1.5°C above pre-industrial levels and reaching net-zero emissions by no later than 2050.
This is just the beginning - we all have more to give, more to do and more to contribute.
CLIMATE ACTION TODAY
When we look back on this year, I am optimistic that we’ll recognize 2019 as the year that public perception of the climate crisis changed. The year we no longer talked about it as an abstraction that would manifest itself in another lifetime. It’s here now.
We must include climate action in every conversation, every business relationship-- and yes even every contract.
We all have a role to play, based on our unique skills, resources and core competencies -- I challenge you; what can you do with what you have in your toolbox to deliver impact that planet Earth might actually notice?
Let’s use today and every day hereafter to push further, faster, together for climate optimism.
The time is now. Join us.
We are thrilled to be this year’s Headline Sponsor at Climate Week NYC. As a pinnacle year in climate activism, we look forward to the future in seeing more companies act and increase climate optimism for all.