PARIS: The Consumer Goods Forum (CGF) says world leaders must secure a legally binding global climate deal at the UN Climate Summit in Paris next year.
The CGF brings together the CEOs and senior management from 400 retailers, manufacturers, service providers and other stakeholders with total sales of €2.5 trillion.
The group is also urging governments to make the UN REDD+ (Reducing Emissions from Deforestation and forest Degradation) climate change mitigation plan a priority.
Unilever CEO Paul Polman commented: "While we...have a clear role to play in creating a more sustainable future, we need to draw upon and work in partnership with governments and civil society to transform markets at scale, and within the framework of an accepted and enforced global climate deal that implements the appropriate elements of REDD+"
The Forum says it is committed to achieving zero net deforestation by 2020 through the sustainable sourcing of key commodities, and to begin replacing hydro fluorocarbons (HFCs) in new refrigeration installations with non-HFC refrigerants.
Deforestation accounts for approximately 15 percent of all greenhouse gas emissions (GHG) - a larger net impact than global transportation. The biggest drivers are the cultivation of soya, oil palm, logging for the production of paper and board, and cattle rearing.
All of these commodities are major ingredients in the supply chains of most CGF companies so they are well placed to ensure that future sourcing avoids deforestation.
Refrigeration is a significant and growing source of GHG via the use of hydro fluorocarbons (HFC) that are 1,400 times more potent than carbon dioxide. The gases are widely used in beverage coolers, vending machines, ice cream freezers, open deck coolers and supermarket freezers.
Without legally binding action, HFCs are forecast to reach 6-9 percent of global GHG by 2050 says the Forum. However, by supporting the Tropical Forest Alliance and Banking Environment Initiative, the CGF thinks further engagement of supply chain partners, including commodity traders and financiers, can help accelerate progress.
Marc Bolland, CEO of M&S noted: "The latest report from the UN's Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change leaves little doubt as to the future disruption that climate change will bring to bear. It is clear that there is still a great deal that needs to be done to protect livelihoods, individual businesses and our industry as a whole from the impacts of climate change."
CGF members directly employ nearly 10 million people and support a further 90 million in their supply chains.