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    Olam CEO Sunny Verghese discusses the strategies to address climate change at the WBCSD council meeting at COP21

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    Leaders from some of the world’s biggest companies and organisations came together today at the World Business Council for Sustainable Development (WBCSD) council meeting where Olam CEO, Sunny Verghese, was a panellist on the topic ‘COP 21 Climate Change Conference: Status, outlook, and business perspectives’.

    During the day, speakers included: Paul Polman, CEO of Unilever and chairman of WBCSD; Peter Bakker, president and CEO of WBCSD; former vice president of the USA Al Gore; UN Secretary General Ban Ki-moon; Inger Andersen, Director General of the International Union for Conservation of Nature (IUCN); Alan Gershenhorn, Executive Vice President and Chief Commercial Officer of UPS; and Eric Olsen, CEO Lafarge Holcim.

    With the challenges climate change is already bringing to the agricultural sector coupled with the ongoing decline in agricultural productivity (2.1% growth in productivity in 1970-2000 and 1.1% growth in productivity in 2000-2010), Mr Verghese highlighted the need for cooperation between public research institutions. Given it was World Soil Day on 5th December, his reference to 30% of arable land having been lost in last 40 years due to top soil erosion through poor agricultural practices was timely.

    But to tackle and mitigate climate change amongst the private sector, Mr Verghese stressed that one of the biggest drivers to change behaviour would be pricing carbon and natural capital. Referring to Olam’s ‘2°C Call to World Leaders and Industry’, he called for world leaders to:

    • commit to a global carbon tax at US$35-US$50 per tonne;
    • support robust carbon off-set mechanisms, such as REDD+ in the Republic of Congo;
    • make Green Bonds attractive and cost-competitive investments;
    • develop national land use plans;
    • recognise the role of Public Private Partnerships in helping emerging nations, particularly in terms of mobilising finance; and
    • engage non-state actors to actively contribute to national targets.

    Simultaneously calling for private sector leaders to:

    • join the WBCSD Low Carbon Technology Partnership Initiative (LCTPi) for Climate Smart Agriculture;
    • back the implementation of climate smart agri practices among smallholders through long-term partnerships with agri-suppliers and technical NGOs;
    • implement procurement policies and consumer awareness campaigns; and
    • support sustainable supply chains and share the cost of solutions.

    More information on how Olam is tackling climate change can be found here.

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