Iceland signs major climate deal

A declaration on climate change has been signed in Iceland by the city of Reykjavik and more than one hundred businesses and institutions, pledging to take action to reduce carbon emissions in the build up to the COP21 United Nations climate summit.

The agreement is supported by the UN and the progress will be monitored, with the companies’ regularly publishing information on their climate actions.

This joint venture was launched by the City of Reykjavík and Festa – the Icelandic Centre for Corporate Social Responsibility.

The agreement is designed to motivate businesses and institutions to reduce their greenhouse gases emissions, and address global environmental concerns.

Participants will reportedly be offered information about climate issues, including practical guidance and best practise examples of other businesses reducing GHG emissions.

The businesses which are affiliated to Festa, the agencies and institutions of the City of Reykjavík, as well as 300 of the largest companies in Iceland, were invited to take part in the project.

The declaration is backed by the UN Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC) which is running the COP21 climate conference in Paris from 30 November to 11 December.

The new agreement will affect more than 70,000 people directly as the companies’ employ a total of more than 43,000 people with an additional 30,000 students attending the educational institutions which are participating.

The City of Reykjavík is leading the project and will also participate in measures to cut emissions.

Reykjavík Mayor Dagur B. Eggertsson said: “The policy of the City of Reykjavík is to reduce emissions of greenhouse gases by 35 per cent by 2020.”

Eggertsson added: “This policy was first formulated in 2009, and it now forms a part of the Reykjavík Municipal Plan. The City administration is also developing strategies to reduce emissions of greenhouse gases arising from its own activities. The City of Reykjavík will certainly make its own contribution in this collaborative project, and we will also be able to learn much from our collaboration with businesses.”

The Declaration was signed in Reykjavik’s Höfði House and says “the nations of the world now face the consequences of climate change… the United Nations play a leading role in analysing the problem, addressing it, and adjusting to altered conditions.”

The agreement says  that “cities and towns, together with businesses of all sizes, have a growing role to play with respect to reducing emissions of greenhouse gases, and meeting targets regarding emissions.”

Ketill Berg Magnússon, the CEO of Festa, said: “They have realised that the operations of businesses must be in harmony with the society in which they operate.”


By the Climate Action Programme on Nov. 23, 2015.


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