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Loud and Clear: Amplifying the Business Voice on International Climate Change Adaptation

Since joining the Ceres coalition in 2006, Oxfam—an international NGO seeking lasting solutions to poverty, hunger and injustice—has participated in multiple stakeholder meetings to move financial, apparel and food companies toward better social and environmental disclosure and performance. In 2008, when Ceres launched Business for Innovative Climate & Energy Policy (BICEP), Oxfam saw a perfect opportunity to advance an important piece of our own policy work.

Jonathan Jacoby, Policy and Campaigns Manager in the Private Sector Department at Oxfam America.Since joining the Ceres coalition in 2006, Oxfam—an international NGO seeking lasting solutions to poverty, hunger and injustice—has participated in multiple stakeholder meetings to move financial, apparel and food companies toward better social and environmental disclosure and performance. In 2008, when Ceres launched Business for Innovative Climate & Energy Policy (BICEP), Oxfam saw a perfect opportunity to advance an important piece of our own policy work—galvanizing US action to help developing countries adapt to climate-related risks. With Ceres’ help, we mobilized BICEP member companies to expand their policy principles to include US financial and other support for adaptation, as well as emissions reductions through clean technology and forest protection in developing countries.

Ceres and BICEP have since played a key role in helping Oxfam elevate this issue among policymakers, nationally and internationally. In 2009, we held a Roundtable in the U.S. Capitol with BICEP founders Levi Strauss, Nike and Starbucks, whose explanation of the risks that climate change poses to their global supply chains is crucial in educating lawmakers about the importance of investing in climate adaptation efforts abroad. Through coverage of the event in The Washington Post and The New York Times, BICEP’s voice has helped shift the adaptation debate in Washington.

Ceres, BICEP and Oxfam also joined forces at the international climate talks in Copenhagen, where we educated business leaders, U.S. negotiators and foreign governments on the importance of funding climate adaptation efforts in developing countries. During the negotiations, BICEP spearheaded a letter from two-dozen major U.S. companies to President Obama calling for a substantial commitment to new long-term financing for climate action in developing countries. Two days later, Secretary of State Hillary Rodham Clinton announced that the U.S. would support and contribute to long-term financing—$100 billion dollars by 2020 from developed nations—to help developing nations adapt to climate change and reduce their carbon emissions. It was a major victory hidden in the disappointment of Copenhagen, and Ceres’ BICEP project was at the heart of it.

Securing robust U.S. support for developing country efforts to build resilience in the face of catastrophic climate change is important to Oxfam’s partners around the globe. Partnering with Ceres and BICEP has been a crucial part of our strategy and our success.

Jonathan Jacoby is the Policy and Campaigns Manager in the Private Sector Department at Oxfam America.