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COP26 – BEIS Committee Chair writes to Alok Sharma on role of business & inclusive participation at COP 26

26 July 2021

Darren Jones, Chair of the Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy (BEIS) Committee, has written to Alok Sharma, COP 26 President, on efforts to engage businesses in COP26 and the steps to  promote participation and ensure the summit matches the ambition to be ‘the most inclusive COP ever’.

The correspondence raises concerns about the access of non-accredited civil society organisations from the global south to attend the Glasgow summit and measures to ensure their participation. The letter to the COP26 President also asks when a decision will be made on whether COP26 will be held in person.

The letter points to the lack of awareness among British SMEs about the relevance of climate change to their businesses. The letter calls on the COP President to set out plans to increase the reach of the Race to Zero campaign to British businesses and also queries the engagement required to ensure overseas businesses step up and make commitments to Race to Zero.

Chair's comment

Darren Jones, Chair of the Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy (BEIS) Committee said:

“I agree that COP26 needs to be the ‘most inclusive COP ever’ if it is to succeed. If the Government is going to realise this ambition, it is vital more is done to engage and deliver access for civil society observers from the global South, who often facilitate the negotiations in partnership with smaller and developing nations.

The expectations of COP26 are significant and it’s crucial we get the arrangements right. Ensuring that every nation has equal access, with the required resources to participate on an equal footing, is a crucial first step to getting the negotiations off to a positive start.

We have also heard that many small and medium-sized businesses are unprepared for net-zero and are yet to recognise the relevance of climate change to their business. It’s important the Government COP26 campaigns are stepped up to provide greater support to SMEs to help them take action and secure a profitable, green and sustainable future”.


Darren Jones, BEIS Committee Chair, previously wrote to Alok Sharma, COP 26 President (13 May 2021), welcoming the set of goals for COP 26 outlined in the Government response but calling for regular updates to be provided on progress towards these commitments.

The BEIS Committee interim report on COP 26, published on 5 March 2021, called for the Government to set out more clearly its ambitions for the COP 26 climate summit, emphasized the need for effective diplomacy for COP26 to be a success, and made recommendations, in the wake of Covid-19 and issues around differing vaccination roll-outs, to help ensure all countries, including those from developing countries, fully participate at COP26 in November.

The BEIS Committee’s report followed up on key commitments made in the Committee’s evidence sessions (including with Alok Sharma, COP President, and Claire O’Neill, former COP President) and, in particular the COP26 President's plans to engage with Parliament in the lead up to the COP conference.

Net zero and UN climate summits: Scrutiny of Preparations for COP26 – interim report Third Report of Session 2019–21 Report, HC 1265 (Published on 5 March 2021)


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