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Commitment> Climate Action 28 Oct 2021

BBVA calls on world leaders to adopt bold measures to tackle the climate crisis during COP26

The CEO Climate Alliance of the World Economic Forum (WEF), of which Carlos Torres Vila is a member in his capacity as BBVA Chairman, is urging world leaders to take decisive climate action. In an open letter addressed to world leaders, the Alliance calls on world leaders to use the unique opportunity afforded by COP26 to “do more together” and create a better world for “people today and for generations to come”.


The global business leaders’ letter calls for a “joint public-private effort to accelerate the race to net-zero.” The Alliance of CEO Climate Leaders is the world's largest global community of CEOs and Chairpersons committed to climate action. The joint statement was released prior to the kickoff of COP26, which will be held in Glasgow this weekend.

In the letter, the Chairpersons and CEOs of these leading international players expressed their commitment to mitigate over 1Gt of emissions annually by 2030, arguing that the business community is willing to and must do more, provided that world leaders are able to reach an agreement at COP26 that would put the world on the path to achieving the goal to limit global warming to 1.5°C and meeting the targets of the Paris Agreement. Although governments representing over 60% of the world’s greenhouse gas emissions are now committed to net-zero emissions goals, only 12% of emissions are addressed by sector-specific policies and regulations,” emphasizes the letter.

In the letter, the leaders of the signatory companies indicate that they are “ready to work side-by-side with governments to scale up public-private efforts this decade in the race to net-zero.” They also argue that, after the publication of the recent IPCC-report, “we should use the COP26 in Glasgow as our best chance to agree on the steps that are required to halve greenhouse gas emissions by 2030, reach net-zero emissions by 2050 and build nature-positive economies.”

And to achieve these goals, the letter urges governments to:

  • Publish ambitious Nationally Determined Contributions, aligned with the aforementioned decarbonization goals, and underpinned by robust policy roadmaps and interim targets
  • Ensure that developed countries meet and exceed their $100B commitment to support developing countries efforts to mitigate and adapt to climate change, and ensure the major development finance institutions also commit to science-based guidelines across their lending portfolios

Three measures to ensure a just transition

In an open letter to the G7 and other world leaders published earlier this year, in June, the Alliance already called for a clear commitment to drive a just transition. Now, besides the detailed recommendations on sector-specific policies proposed in said open letter, the Alliance identifies three key measures that would help expedite emission reductions, drive innovation and deliver on the net-zero target by 2050:

  1. Eliminate fossil fuel subsidies, cut tariffs on climate-friendly goods, develop market- based meaningful and broadly accepted carbon pricing mechanisms and take adequate measures to ensure a just transition. “An escalating carbon price is a critical enabler for greater competitiveness of low-carbon technologies,” explains the letter.
  2. Support and incentivize first-movers, including to scale existing, proven solutions across value chains (especially in carbon-intensive sectors) and develop new technologies. Governments can make the difference to help scale up and accelerate the transition, including through effective and harmonized laws and regulations that enable a speedy deployment of key technologies and a systematic public procurement of low-carbon products.
  3. Invest in climate adaptation: create resilient cities, supply chains and infrastructure by scaling natural disaster defenses and risk transfer solutions, by, for instance, advancing climate- resilient, sustainable food production and securing water supplies.

Finally, the Alliance also encouraged all business leaders to set science-based targets to halve emissions by 2030 and reach net-zero by 2050 with a clear roadmap on how to get there as well as provide transparency on emissions and their financial impact, for example in line with the recommendations of the Task Force on Climate-Related Financial Disclosures (TCFD).

BBVA’s commitment to decarbonization

BBVA has placed sustainability at the center of its business and is one of its six strategic priorities. In 2021 the bank decided to stop financing companies engaging in coal-related activities by 2030 in developed countries, and by 2040 across the remainder of its footprint Also, the Group has pledged to achieve net-zero emissions by 2050, in terms of account both direct emissions by the bank (it achieved neutrality in 2020) and indirect emissions, i.e., the emissions of the clients it finances.

Also, BBVA will channel €200 billion between 2018 and 2025 in sustainable financing, after doubling the target it originally pledged. As of June 2021, the bank had already originated a total of €67.1 billion in sustainable loans.

BBVA is currently Europe’s most, and the world’s second most sustainable bank, according to the Dow Jones Sustainability Index.

About the Alliance of CEO Climate Leaders

The World Economic Forum´s (WEF) 'Alliance of CEO Climate Leaders' meets twice a year to exchange ideas and best practices in order to build consensus. It is a community open to companies from any country and sector of activity. Its goal is to drive change across all supply chains, given that 8 supply chains cover more than 50% of global emissions. The companies in this alliance employ 8 million people in 25 countries and 12 industries, that represent $7 trillion in market capitalization and have combined revenues larger than Italy’s GDP.