02 November 2017 #Environment
At the TAG Alliances conference recently held in Quebec City a plenary session on climate change was moderated by Michael Sippitt, Chairman of UK law firm Clarkslegal LLP and of the Commonwealth Environmental Investment Platform (CEIP).
Together with Canadian panellists Anne Giardini and Pascal Porlier, Michael led discussions on professional engagement with sustainability opportunities and businesses working in the sector.
The conference affirmed by a substantial majority in a poll that climate change seriously deserves a major global response. Some lawyers and accountants at the conference from various countries had their own stories of climate change effects, especially noticeable sea level rise and increasingly stronger hurricanes.
Michael Sippitt observed that there was optimism as preparations are being made for the COP 23 climate conference in November to be held in Bonn, notwithstanding the announced decision of President Trump to withdraw the US from the Paris Agreement. Michael considered that this decision had probably galvanised everyone else to try even harder to implement what was agreed at Paris.
Pascal identified the considerable environmental challenges faced by First Nations communities in Canada, and Anne described the focus on environmental issues now included by Canada in trade negotiations. This is very welcome as Canada is helping give a lead in this environmental focus which has historically been disregarded in trade agreements. The new Canada EU Trade Agreement includes this focus and likewise it is seen as important in the NAFTA negotiations. Therefore it is a sign that countries will be now addressing environmental impacts in trade and Canada is setting a welcome standard, especially useful in the Commonwealth trade context.
The panel together emphasised the importance of the professional services ecosystem supporting enterprises working across the world in the environmental sustainability sector on renewable energy and clean tech generally. The TAG Alliances as one of the world’s leading professional multidisciplinary networks represents a particular example of well established professional collaboration that facilitates business across borders and the trade opportunities for businesses seeking new markets. Michael also identified that the Commonwealth Platform also meets needs of businesses for a helpful gateway to Commonwealth markets in sustainability, for both Commonwealth members and other countries wanting to trade with Commonwealth countries.