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That’s a wrap: The success stories from Climate Week NYC 2021

5 October 2021, 14:02 UTC 5 min read

Alice Macaskie

As yet another Climate Week NYC draws to a close, we reflect on the many highlights, the electric atmosphere in New York City, the Late-Night comedy shows banding together for ‘Climate Night’, the triumph of The Hub Live events, and the significant headline-grabbing announcements, on what has been our biggest and most successful year yet. With COP26 on the horizon, there is no time to waste – world leaders must carry this momentum forward and ‘Get It Done’.

Here we round up all the key happenings which took place at an event, or to coincide with it, after a successful thirteenth Climate Week NYC.

“This is your problem, not your successor’s”

Kicking off the Opening Ceremony on Monday (September 20), Climate Group’s CEO Helen Clarkson spoke to heads of state, business leaders, and NGO representatives in attendance, saying plainly, “This is your problem, not your successor’s”. Her opening remarks set the tone for the rest of the week, stating, “As exhausting as all of this sounds, I still think we can be optimistic about our ability to get it done."

A hybrid of over 530 topical events took place over the next few days, with some of the largest businesses globally making major announcements amounting to billions of pounds of investments and significant commitments with regards to 2030 and 2050 net zero goals. Government engagement was also significant during Climate Week NYC 2021 with many leaders joining from the US cabinet, the UK, Europe, Africa, and Asia.

High-level participation was matched by the huge variety of community engagement which took place throughout the week, with massive support for all things sustainable from the City of New York. Iconic buildings such as the Empire State Building lit up green; the New York Stock Exchange rang its closing bell to signify the start of the week; Times Square showcased ‘Possible World’, an environmental-inspired artistic display; and Junk Kouture, Program Partner of Climate Week NYC, designed an eye-catching ‘Getting It Done’ campaign which incorporated youth activism and was shown across New York’s billboards and big screens.

Fashion and PR Graduate as well as Junk Kouture alum, Nadine Maguire, is picked for the billboard campaign

World leaders accelerate net zero action plans

  • Against the backdrop of the UN General Assembly, President Joe Biden pledged to double the federal government’s financial support to help low-income countries tackle climate change and shift to clean energy. The proposed $11 billion in annual climate funding, an increase from the initial 5.7 billion announced in April, will need to be approved by Congress.
  • During the Climate Week NYC Opening Ceremony, Governor Kathy Hochul announced two major green energy infrastructure projects to power New York City with wind, solar and hydropower projects from upstate New York and Canada. If approved, these infrastructure projects will create approximately 10,000 family-sustaining jobs statewide and bring $8.2 billion in economic development investments.
  • Mayor Bill de Blasio, the NYC Department of Citywide Administrative Services (DCAS), and the Mayor’s Office of Climate and Sustainability, announced a $75 million investment in electric vehicles and electric vehicle charging infrastructure to support the City of New York’s vehicle fleet. 
  • Amazon founder Jeff Bezos announced plans to spend $1 billion in grants this year to support conservation efforts. The pledge is part of the Bezos Earth Fund, which he started in 2020 with a $10 billion commitment to fight climate change.
  • L'Oréal USA—the largest subsidiary of the L'Oréal Groupe— announced that it has reached carbon neutrality for scopes 1 and 2 emissions for all 25 U.S. sites, across 12 states, including its manufacturing and distribution facilities, administrative sites, and research and innovation sites. This is in-line with the beauty leader’s global sustainability commitment, L'Oréal for the Future, which states that all L'Oréal operated sites worldwide must reach carbon neutrality by 2025.
  • ENGIE Impact and ENGIE Group announced the launch of Ellipse during Climate Week NYC. Ellipse is the world’s most comprehensive carbon intelligence platform that will accelerate global net zero efforts. Ellipse will enable businesses to track their emissions, design decarbonization strategies, chart their progress and optimize sustainability investments.

More information on corporate and governmental pledges can be found on Edie’s website and Canary Media’s website.

Climate Group hosted The Hub Live

Climate Group hosted The Hub Live (September 21-23), a series of 18 forums, discussions, and workshops that brought together the expertise and influence of public and private sectors. Hosted through an interactive online digital platform, the events shone a spotlight on the clean energy revolution, the future of buildings, heavy industries, electric vehicles, finance, and food and health.  

The Hub Live speakers included: 

  • Pia Heidenmark-Cook, Chief Sustainability Officer, Ingka Group (IKEA)
  • Angela Hultberg, Road Transport Lead, COP26 Climate Champions
  • Yang Seung-Jo, Governor of Chungnam
  • Monica Araya, Drive Electric campaigner, RouteZero partner and Distinguished Fellow at ClimateWorks Foundation 

Many of the topical events received in-depth coverage focused on their sector-specific issues, including SteelZero in Canary Media; Chalet Hotels in India joining each of our initiatives in the Economic Times; and ways to reduce building emissions on Red, Green and Blue.

To catch up on any of The Hub Live events, you can find the recordings via our Facebook Watch Climate Week 2021.

More news that happened during the week

  • On September 22, eight of the late-night talk shows banded together for Climate Night, dedicating their Wednesday night shows to shine a light on the climate crisis. The event was coordinated by veteran producer and writer Steve Bodow in line with Climate Week NYC and marked a positive step forwards in the top media outlets raising awareness of such a crucial issue.
  • Climate Week NYC partnered with The Solutions Project and added environmental justice to one of the ten key themes. Climate Week NYC is working with The Solutions Project to be more inclusive and amplify the voices of frontline leaders of color. That means putting a spotlight on the work of grassroots organisers in communities hit hard by climate change and pollution.
  • Climate Group launched its first edition of the Climate Week NYC Magazine. Designed by Alchemy Mill, the magazine offers a dedicated space for engaging events, resources and thought leadership to provide readers with an understanding of the full scope of action from the week. Download your copy to explore the week from wherever you are. 
CW Mag
Climate Week NYC 2021 Magazine

"There is no doubt that this has been the most successful Climate Week NYC ever held, and by many measures probably the biggest climate event to encompass business, government and the public - that has ever taken place."

Adam Lake, Head of Climate Week NYC

In the wake of the most definitive IPCC report and with COP26 just around the corner, Climate Week NYC 2021 offered a critical moment to accelerate action and raise ambition. We’re so proud to provide a platform to the most dynamic and diverse range of events.

Thank you for joining us for Climate Week NYC 2021 to learn, act and Get It Done.