Climate change - not necessarily bad news for business

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Beyond best practice examples - Alexis Sampson & Michael Jarvis report from today's conference:

How does climate change impact corporate strategy? This crucial question was discussed by business leaders at the World Bank's International Business Forum this morning. "Climate change is a risk for business…but it is also a business opportunity," noted Suellen Lazarus of ABN AMRO Bank. Energetic audience members wanted to hear more than just best practice examples, explaining that many examples are not applicable in many developing countries, and demanding more affordable eco-friendly products to be brought to these markets.

Rajendara Pachauri, Chairman of the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change – joining via video link from the climate change conference hosted by Angela Merkel in Berlin – agreed with business calls for market-based solutions as right in theory but argued that we currently face a market failure. In particular, he bemoaned the lack of investment in R&D on climate issues. He argued that the rising price of carbon will help force a correction, pushing industry to increase research and make the shift to a low carbon economy much more feasible.

A common thread in the discussions was the call for cooperation across sectors. Lars Josefsson, CEO of Vattenfall and founder of the business "Combat Climate Change" initiative summed it up: "we need to stop talking about who is the guilty one and instead involve everyone in solutions."

More live updates from the International Business Forum will be posted very soon.

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