28 June 2016- Guildhall, London

On June 28, Rachel Kyte – CEO of Sustainable Energy for All and Special Representative of the UN Secretary General for Sustainable Energy for All – delivered a keynote address at the opening of the second annual Business & Climate Summit at Guildhall in London. The summit, which brings together business leaders, investors, and policymakers from around the world, convened to discuss what role the private sector plays in driving the vision of the recent Paris Agreement and Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) forward into the future.

Ms. Kyte began by acknowledging the role these individuals and groups had in securing the SDGs and historic Climate Agreement, but emphasized that now that goals and initiatives existed, the business community must support and encourage the implementation of policy and technology to drive global progress. Stressing the need for cooperation by citing an African proverb – “If you want to go quickly, go alone. If you want to go far, go together”– she said the challenge was all the greater because the policies and strategies for a sustainable future must be implemented quickly for the greatest impact. She then laid out a shared framework for accelerating progress and achieving goals. First, countries must adopt an “energy efficiency first” approach. Secondly, access must be placed at heart of countries’ energy strategies. And finally, there needs to be a massive global scaling up of renewables. She made the point that “policy is the accelerant”; money and technology to drive progress already exist, but it is cooperation, political willpower, and changing attitudes that will really bring the world closer to a sustainable future.

While congratulating the assembled audience for their action and dedication, Ms. Kyte urged all attendees to dig deeper and ask how their organization or initiative could do more; in particular, what they could do to help more people. The clean energy transition and a sustainable future cannot be confined to developed economies. The Charter of the United Nations begins with “We the peoples”, not “We the few”. Going forward, no one must be left behind, particularly women and people of colour, who are often disproportionally affected by unsustainable energy practices. The “All” in “Sustainable Energy for All” promises that the clean energy future will be a reality for everyone, not just those countries and communities with greater funds and technology. Those with the tools necessary to implement progress must collaborate, innovate, and encourage in order for global goals to be reached. Businesses and investors must step up and take concrete, inclusive action in order to make the shared vision of the Paris Agreement and the SDGs a reality. Collaboration and inclusion is key to this vital progress. Ms. Kyte closed her address with, “Together, we will go further and faster to secure a better world - not just for the few, but for all”.

 

Watch Ms. Kyte’s speech here: www.businessclimatesummit.com/watch-live-great-hall