Taskforce on Net Zero Policy launched at COP28

December 3, 2023 - Dubai: Leading representatives from within the community of international regulators and experts have today announced their participation in a new taskforce with the aim of aligning global policy with net zero.

Launched today at COP28 in Dubai, building on the work of United Nations Secretary-General’s High Level Expert Group (HLEG) on Net-Zero Emissions Commitments of Non-State Entities, the Taskforce on Net Zero Policy will aim to help realise its recommendations.

The focus of the Taskforce will be to ensure the credibility and accountability of 1.5°C-aligned net zero emissions commitments by non-state actors is underpinned with coherent policies and regulatory certainty.

The announcement of the Taskforce was made at the UN Secretary-General’s High-level meeting for Non-State Actors at COP28, and comes one year after the release of the HLEG’s recommendations contained in the group’s “Integrity Matters” report during last year’s COP27 in Sharm El-Sheikh.

The HLEG report called for non-state actors to take clear and ambitious action to align their net-zero pledges and accompanying transition plans with the latest science as set out by both the IPCC and IEA.

Now, the launch of the Taskforce on Net Zero Policy marks a significant stride forward in support for the implementation of HLEG’s core recommendation, with a view to accelerating progress on the road to policy change which is additive to voluntary net zero goals.

The formation of the Taskforce has been driven by a small group of HLEG members and its constituents include the Principles for Responsible Investment (PRI) (which will serve as the Taskforce’s secretariat), the United Nations Environment Program – Finance Initiative (UNEP FI), the United Nations Conference on Trade and Development (UNCTAD), the Vulnerable 20 (V20) Group, the International Financial Reporting Standards (IFRS) and others.

The Taskforce’s ultimate goal is to establish a collaborative space that encourages the sharing of knowledge, practices, and insights among policymakers and regulators in advancing net zero aligned policy.

The Taskforce’s focus will centre around three primary objectives:

  • Establishing a collaborative space that encourages the sharing of knowledge, practices, and insights among policymakers and regulators.
  • Providing research and technical support, particularly in areas which support the net zero transition in a way that is consistent with the HLEG recommendations and that also works for companies of all sizes and addresses the needs of middle and low income and the most vulnerable countries.
  • Identifying opportunities within regulatory frameworks that support the implementation of the HLEG recommendations.

Supportive and effective regulatory frameworks are a core element of a systemic shift to net zero and serve to empower and facilitate private sector action on climate. By engaging on these objectives, the Taskforce will aim to balance the needs of relevant private sector actors with the demands and timelines of a regulatory environment geared to a net zero future, while also maintaining focus on developing nations at the forefront of climate change.

The Hon. Catherine McKenna, Former HLEG Chair and former Canadian Minister of Environment and Climate Change, commented: “At COP 27, our High-Level Expert Group on the Net Zero Emissions Commitments of Non-State Entities delivered our report, ’Integrity Matters’. We established clear criteria to ensure net zero pledges are real while drawing redlines to end greenwashing. One year later, we see companies stepping up and taking action that aligns with our recommendations with the report as a North Star for net zero. But we are running out of time. As our report states, we need to move from voluntary initiatives by early adopters to regulated requirements for net zero that ensure accountability and a level playing field. Today’s announcement will help to realise the recommendations set out in ’Integrity Matters’. The Net Zero Policy taskforce will support the work of governments and regulators and create a powerful ambition loop that accelerates the pace of climate action.”

When announcing the launch of the Taskforce during the high-level event on Implementation of the High-Level Expert Group report Integrity Matters, convened by the United Nations Secretary General, Helena Viñes Fiestas, Chair of the EU Platform on Sustainable Finance and former HLEG member said: “The Taskforce´s primary goal is to advance the implementation of the ‘Integrity Matters’ recommendations. Specifically, by focussing on the report’s tenth recommendation on accelerating policy and regulatory action, the Taskforce aims to help create an environment that contributes to the realisation of the other nine recommendations. Such efforts are foundational to addressing systemic barriers to net zero – it is through the creation of an enabling policy environment that we stand to collectively make the most significant moves to a net zero future.”

HE Razan Al Mubarak, UN Climate Change High Level Champion for COP28, commented: “The critical need to align voluntary action with policy and regulation is at the core of Race to Zero. The policies and regulations that form the ground rules of a net zero nature positive economy need to be developed in an inclusive and collaborative way informed by insights and innovations from leaders of the real economy. This new Taskforce provides a way forward to design guiding principles for these policies and regulations, the High Level Champions look forward to supporting this endeavour.”

Dr Mahmoud Moheildin, UN Climate Change High Level Champion for COP27, commented: “In order to accelerate climate solutions at the pace and scale required, we must transition from voluntary climate action, to standards, regulations and policies that will level the playing field, create the right incentives, and enable all actors of the economy to engage in a just transition to halve emission by 2030 and which supports the Sustainable Development Goals. I welcome the launch of the Taskforce on Net Zero Policy as a critical step towards net zero aligned policies that deliver the recommendations in the Integrity Matters Report and unlock economic opportunities. We need to address the challenges facing non-state actors from developing countries in formulating and implementing net-zero targets and will work towards identifying the measures needed to support them to formulate and deliver on credible net-zero targets”.

David Atkin, CEO of the UN-supported Principles for Responsible Investment – the group’s secretariat – commented: “It’s never been more vital that we see the global architecture reorient itself in support of net zero. With each COP that passes, the need for meaningful action grows greater. Through the Taskforce on Net Zero Policy, we have an opportunity to ensure that the HLEG’s recommendations are practically implemented and fully supported. Such efforts are additive to positive outcomes for investors and other non-state actors, helping us move towards a future which safeguards the wellbeing of societies and the planet, while giving us the chance to realise a system of sustainable economic growth for generations to come.”

Eric Usher, Head of the United Nations Environment Programme’s Finance Initiative (UNEP FI) commented: “The Taskforce responds to the call from the UN Secretary General to bring the UN HLEG report recommendations to the next level of implementation. While the first nine recommendations are directed to Non-State Actors, the tenth recommendation was to form a taskforce that could support policymakers in their efforts to regulate net zero commitments.”

Ken Ofori-Atta, Chair of the V20 and Minister for Finance of Ghana commented: “Pushing international financial reform can be enabled by ambitious domestic action, which is why we are advancing together Climate Prosperity Plans among our members. Our goal is not merely to survive this climate crisis. What we want is to thrive, what we desire is prosperity. We expect the Net Zero Task Force to play a critical role in ensuring and enabling industry and trade with investment and supply chain opportunities for our domestic and regional private sector players.”

Emmanuel Faber, ISSB Chair, commented “For those organisations that have set net zero targets, comprehensive disclosure is a vital tool for communicating strategy and progress. We look forward to participating in the Taskforce on Net Zero Policy to provide our expertise around the important role of decision-useful climate-related disclosures.”

Rebeca Grynspan, Secretary General of UNCTAD commented: “The Taskforce on Net Zero Policy embodies our collective commitment to transforming net zero ambitions into tangible policy actions. It marks a pivotal moment in our journey towards a sustainable future, ensuring that the Integrity Matters recommendations are not just visionary statements but catalysts for real-world change, especially in the Global South”.

Jo Tyndall, OECD Environment Director, commented: “Key to safeguarding the 1.5 degree temperature goal is ensuring the policy and regulatory landscape for net zero transition planning is globally coordinated, fosters international interoperability, and prevents carbon lock-in. I welcome the creation of this task force as an important collaborative effort in driving these efforts forward. It is particularly relevant in placing the critical need to ramp up implementation of effective, concrete action at its core.”

Jean-Paul Servais, Chair of IOSCO, commented: “I commend the High-Level Expert Group for the launch of the Net Zero Taskforce. At IOSCO we recently established a new workstream to examine how proper disclosure of existing transition plans by listed companies and asset managers that have transition targets can work for the benefit of investors. As IOSCO Board Chair, I look forward to advancing work on transition plan disclosures to support capital markets efficiency, integrity, and investor protection.”

Malango Mughogho, Managing Director of ZeniZeni Sustainable Finance, South Africa and former HLEG member commented: “The just transition to a net zero, nature positive world where everyone’s needs for food, energy, water, housing, health, education and security are met, is only possible through coordinated regulation by the world’s policy makers. The creation of this Taskforce is an important step in making this happen and brings me hope for our shared future.”

Laurence Tubiana, CEO of the European Climate Foundation, commented: “Net zero is mainstream, with 92% of global GDP now covered by targets set by countries, cities and regions, financial institutions and companies. Now urgent work is needed to align policies with net zero, including in the next round of country NDCs and in net zero transition plans. I’m delighted that the Taskforce on Net Zero Policy will be supporting this mission, and continuing to embed the high integrity principles set out by the HLEG last year. This is critical work to meet the Paris goals and support urgent implementation in this decade.”

Teresa Ribera, Vice-President and Minister for the Ecological Transition for Spain, commented: “Meaningful policy action is the cornerstone of the transition to net zero. By creating a global enabling policy environment, we have the opportunity to unlock huge economic opportunity and lay the foundations for a more sustainable way of living and doing business well into the future. Spain’s own ambitious climate targets help set this blueprint, and I look forward to collaborating with the Taskforce on Net Zero Policy and its constituents to further the domestic and global agenda on this vital issue.”




Notes to Editors

HLEG 2022 ‘Integrity Matters’ report available here.


List of Taskforce on Net Zero Policy supporters:

  • European Climate Foundation (ECF)
  • International Financial Reporting Standards (IFRS) Foundation
  • Principles for Responsible Investment (PRI)
  • United Nations Conference on Trade and Development (UNCTAD)
  • United Nations Environment Programme’s Finance Initiative (UNEP FI)
  • The Vulnerable 20 (V20) Group


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