The COVID-19 crisis might have delayed COP26 until November 2021, but the business community continues to press ahead with commitments to tackling climate change and biodiversity loss.  The COP26 Business Leaders Event on 29 June saw 180 businesses gather (virtually) with green groups and Government ministers to launch further initiatives and pledge further progress.

The speech by the Environment Secretary George Eustice emphasised the Government's commitment to a "green and resilient recovery" but it was left up to business to make the concrete commitments.  In the build-up to the (now postponed) 2020 event there was already talk about COP26 being the 'business COP'  with some critics suggesting that the emphasis on private action was a cover for a lack of progress at state level. 

The truth might be simpler.  The scale of the task requires the private sector to lead alongside governments and, like government ministers, the private sector is feeling the heat from those calling for action.  Consumers and other stakeholders are demanding change at the same time as investors are realising that scrutiny of ESG factors is simply good risk management that yields returns.  It is no real surprise that businesses want to be seen as leaders on this agenda.  If COP26 is 'the business COP', that's no bad thing.  Provided it is not an excuse for government inaction.