Each year at the annual UN climate summits, many businesses set up pavilions at the event and have high-level meetings with policymakers. The number of companies at the COPS has been increasing each year. For some, this is a worrying sign of corporate capture. For others, it is a sign of the business community seriously engaging with the issue of climate change and telling policymakers what they need to create a stable landscape for clean investment.

Energy Monitor spoke to Ursula Woodburn, programme director at the Corporate Leaders Group, part of the Cambridge Institute for Sustainability Leadership, about why businesses are at COP27 and what they want to see come out of the summit.

Ursula Woodburn (left) from the Corporate Leaders Group in conversation with Energy Monitor reporter Dave Keating at COP27 in Sharm El Sheikh, Egypt.

“Business should be here if they are supporting climate ambition,” says Woodburn. Many businesses have made net-zero commitments; living up to those means being present and advocating for climate ambition, she argues. “It is really critical that you have the energy and support from those businesses… in these global fora.”

There is a lot of energy on the sidelines of the COP27 summit with new announcements and commitments from businesses, she says. The key will be having that feed into the main negotiations. “What they [businesses] want is the long-term vision…. and short-term actions and milestones that feed into that.” More than 200 businesses have signed up to a statement supporting 1.5C that was convened by the We Mean Business coalition.

Climate action beyond business at COP27:

Reporter Nour Ghantous and senior writer Dave Keating are reporting from COP27 in Sharm El Sheikh, Egypt, on behalf of Energy Monitor and our parent company, GlobalData. They are providing the data-led analysis you have come to expect from Energy Monitor but also something new: video interviews with business leaders, policymakers and campaigners. We encourage you to return often to our Energy Monitor home page for updates from the conference. You can also sign up for our free biweekly newsletter here.

Other recent COP27 coverage includes:

The interwoven fortunes of carbon markets and indigenous communities, by Oliver Gordon (16 November)

COP27: Deep geothermal “superhot rock energy” could be key to climate action, by Dave Keating (16 November)

COP27: “Energy efficiency should not be neglected” – Danfoss, by Nour Ghantous (15 November)

One year on, is coal being consigned to history?, by Dave Keating (15 November)

COP27: Cities are essential in the climate fight, says former Lord Mayor of Dublin, by Dave Keating (14 November)

Opinion: Why climate action will fail without more women at the table, by Philippa Nuttall (14 November)

COP27: “Green hydrogen is one of the bright spots of this COP” – Jonas Moberg, CEO of GH2, by Nour Ghantous (14 November)

COP27: Ukraine energy company DTEK maintains net-zero goal, by Nour Ghantous (14 November)

Opinion: COP27 comes after a year of unfulfilled COP26 promises, by Nick Ferris (11 November)

COP27: Data science can strengthen climate action, by Nour Ghantous (11 November)

COP27: Alpine Group proffers recycled textiles to combat climate, by Nour Ghantous (10 November)

Why the financial odds are stacked against developing countries, by Isabeau van Halm and Polly Bindman (9 November)

COP27: International Labour Organization wants to see a just transition “actually implemented”, by Nour Ghantous (9 November)

COP27 take note: Climate tech funding has soared in 2022, by Eric Johansson (9 November)

COP27: How countries compare on carbon emissions and pledges, by Nick Ferris (7 November)

COP27: Mattie Yeta, CGI’s chief sustainability officer, on the first-ever ‘metaverse COP’, by Nour Ghantous (7 November)

Which countries are already at net zero?, by Nick Ferris (25 October)

COP27: Manage your expectations, by Nour Ghantous (21 September)