Six years after the Paris Agreement was adopted in December 2015, we are reflecting on how it continues to shape the climate ambitions and policymaking of governments and businesses – including LeasePlan.

Paris was the watershed moment the world had been waiting for, with almost 200 countries agreeing to act to limit global warming to less than 1.5°C – and, six years on, the influence of the Agreement remains strong. Despite some (not unexpected) hurdles, much has been achieved, and we are heading in the right direction.

We only have to look at how perceptions of climate change have evolved since the Paris Agreement to see its impact. Climate action is now firmly established as a mainstream issue for businesses and societies alike. Meanwhile, major economies are making bold policy announcements: from a 50% cut in US carbon emissions by 2030 to the EU’s Green Deal. Capital markets are also taking notice, with some predicting sustainable funds will outnumber others by 2025.

Sparking LeasePlan’s electric transformation

The Paris Agreement was also a turning point at LeasePlan. Although we have reported our carbon emissions to the CDP since 2012, the Agreement was a key factor in our 2017 commitment to achieving net-zero tailpipe emissions from our funded fleet by 2030.

As a first-mover in our industry in the transition to electric vehicles (EVs), we wanted to help our customers reach their own Paris-inspired net-zero ambitions. Company cars make up 60% of cars sold in Europe, and in 2019, 96% of these were combustion vehicles. Corporate fleets therefore have a big role to play in climate action, and LeasePlan lost no time in setting to work. Having accounted for just 2% of our new vehicle orders in 2017, EVs now make up 23%.

With our new Driving to Zero sustainability strategy update, we are going further still, submitting our carbon reduction targets for Science Based Targets initiative (SBTi) validation – in line with the Paris Agreement – and formally integrating climate risks into our risk management framework.

Most recently, LeasePlan was proud to be part of the zero-emission vehicle declaration at COP26 in Glasgow in November – because no business can tackle climate change alone. In fact, our collaborations include recent partnerships with EV pioneers Lightyear, Polestar, Arrival and NIO. And it all started in Paris.

Our north star of sustainability

Even if global progress has been promising since 2015, there is still a large gap between short-term commitments under the Paris Agreement and what our world needs to do to keep warming below 1.5°C. The window of opportunity is closing, so we must seize our chance.

Paris remains LeasePlan’s north star in this journey, inspiring us to take our sustainability targets to the next level. So, a very happy birthday to the Paris Agreement – here’s to many more years of progress!

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