“We need a trade association for industries that don’t exist yet.” This is what Thomas Lingard, VP of global policy and advocacy at Unilever, said to me at an event recently. We were discussing Senator Whitehouse’s article on the dearth of pro-climate lobbyists in Washington, which has sparked a global conversation about corporate engagement on climate policy.

This conversation has been a long time coming. Trade associations exist to protect and promote the interest of their corporate members. They play a powerful role in amplifying the voice of business, and this in turn serves an important function in creating policy. With the emerging understanding of the business case for climate action however, we need to ask if the current status quo meets the needs of business.

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Companies join RE100 with a commitment to 100% renewable electricity, an ambitious goal that earns due admiration among their peers and attention in the press. Being a public commitment, the RE100 goal is also a promise to a company’s own employees, customers, investors and other stakeholders. For these reasons, what businesses say through a visible platform like RE100 – and how – matters.

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The Paris Agreement, which saw a record-breaking number of countries sign last week, sets the target of limiting global warming to within two degrees by the end of the century. In order to achieve this it is essential that emissions reductions are made, and quickly.

Up to a third of effective carbon mitigation is achievable through directly addressing the loss of trees. This makes halting deforestation one of the most cost effective means of tackling climate change.

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On April 22, 130 leaders from across the globe will gather in New York City to sign the Paris Agreement – the largest international agreement in world history.  In just four months, the world has responded rapidly to the new ‘rules of the game’ established at the UN Paris Climate Change Conference, COP21. I am greatly encouraged that this Agreement includes a strong reference to carbon pricing, recognizing the value of cooperation among jurisdictions on emissions trading schemes and carbon markets.

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