BusinessGreen talks to eBay's global director of social innovation about the growing voice of businesses calling for action on climate change
BusinessGreen is asking key green business leaders about their personal views on the importance of the climate change talks due to take place in the French capital at the end of this year.
This week we spoke to Lori Duvall, global director of social innovation at eBay.
What do you hope to see achieved in Paris?
My hope is that COP21 will be the climate conference that will, at long last, deliver what we've hoped for since Rio Earth Summit in 1992: a universal, legally binding agreement that will enable us to effectively combat climate change and boost the transition towards resilient, low-carbon societies and economies.
What do you think will be agreed?
Based on past COP negotiations, it's easy to expect there to be modest but not transformative progress. However, this year's meeting is being held in a world where disruptive weather events are increasing, deployment of renewable energy has accelerated (while the prices are continuing to trend downwards), and public awareness appears to be on the upswing. I know a lot of people will be going there highly motivated to seize the opportunity. Is this momentum that will lead to ambitious, even courageous commitments? I choose to believe it is.
How would a Paris deal impact your business?
In the short term, a deal in Paris is unlikely to directly impact eBay's business. We have recognised for some time that global climate change poses both risks and opportunities for our company and our customers, and continue to take steps to address our own carbon footprint.
In the longer term, a well-constructed and effectively enforced deal would provide two things that are good for all businesses: regulatory certainty and cost predictability. On the longest time horizon, we avoid the worst-case climate change scenarios and eBay continues to grow and thrive alongside our customers.
Do you think green businesses are making themselves heard?
I think businesses of all kinds can be strong voices and instruments of positive change, and the environment is only one of many issues you see the business community weighing in on. While individual companies, particularly very powerful brands, can make themselves heard on issues via their scale and reach, I think we're seeing more and more great examples of the whole being far more than the sum of its parts when groups of companies unite behind a common message. Look at the powerful coverage we saw recently when more than 1,000 business leaders came together at the Business Climate summit in Paris, or the number of brands who have signed Ceres' Climate Declaration (more than 900 so far). That kind of collective action gets the attention not only of policy makers and stakeholders, but starts to break through to the general public as well.
In 240 characters what would your message be to the lead negotiators?
The world is counting on all of us to lead the way to a low carbon future.
Business is committed to doing its part, and we need you to do yours. This is the most important work you will ever do. Make it count.
Are you going to the Paris summit and how are you getting there?
At this time eBay is not planning to send a company representative to the conference, though our support and point of view will be represented, in part, by some of our non-governmental organization partners, such as Business for Innovative Climate and Energy Policy (BICEP). However, should we decide to send someone, we will prioritise keeping the carbon footprint of their travel to a minimum.