The city’s veteran is taking steps to reduce the companies’ carbon emissions

Veteran Sir Ian Cheshire has been appointed the first independent chairman of a coalition backed by Amazon and Ikea with plans to raise funds to help companies reduce carbon emissions.

On Tuesday, Cheshire, former chairman of Barclays UK and former CEO of Kingfisher, a DIY retailer, will take over as chairman of the We Mean Business Coalition, a European-American non-profit organization that aims to prompted private business to take action on climate change.

Cheshire, who sits on the BT Group board, said the coalition wants to quickly accelerate the number of companies committed to plans to halve emissions by 2030.

The incoming leader also wants to increase the coalition’s annual budget by $ 20 million to support new technologies that groups can use on a large scale to reduce their carbon footprint.

Cheshire said one way to higher environmental standards would be to raise funds to raise institutional money to invest in opportunities identified by the coalition.

He said: “There is a huge amount of money trying to find a home in sustainable financing solutions in a number of areas to actually create funds that invest in long-term transformation. [and] to make a return. “

He added that the coalition already has a “relatively significant amount of money” to unlock “much more” investment in climate change initiatives, such as naming low-carbon cement and battery projects.

We Mean Business says we have helped more than 5,000 companies, from large multinationals to SMEs around the world, make ambitious commitments and plans to tackle climate change.

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Amazon and Ikea are its founding partners, with other funds coming from the Children’s Investment Fund, a philanthropic organization set up by hedge fund investor Sir Chris Hon and Verizon Communications.

Cheshire said his focus will be on finding solutions to practical problems facing entire industries. “Like how do you make cement or steel for buildings? A lot of it has to do with joint decisions, you won’t make any company decide that. ”

He is also committed to working closely with governments. Cheshire chaired the UK Government’s Working Group on a Global Resources Initiative, which seeks to ensure that the country’s global supply chain is sustainable and avoids deforestation. He also chairs the Committee on Food, Agriculture and the Village.

“There’s something like a great feeling of spaghetti soup from initiatives. . . if we unite for action, we lobby governments around the world, we can have a much greater impact. “

He said it was important for businesses to continue building on the work done at last year’s COP26 climate summit in Glasgow.

The organizers of the meeting were sharply criticized by some business groups for excluding them with high barriers to entry. Others expressed disappointment that national governments were not moving fast enough to tackle climate change.

Cheshire said COP26 was neither a triumph nor a catastrophe. . . This is a necessary step, but it is not enough to reach the last moment, so we must move forward. “

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