Doing it ourselves: Women and climate


By Chiara Corazza,

Managing Director of the Women's Forum for the Economy & Society


While COP23 in Bonn didn’t result in the big headlines we saw after COP21 in Paris, the commitment of the international community to mitigate the effects of climate change and reduce human impact on the environment was on full display. The UK, Canada and Mexico spearheaded a coalition to end the use of unabated coal and a large contingent of US states, cities and businesses set up a forum for discussion alongside the official talks in Bonn despite the US decision to withdraw from the Paris Agreement. 

These commitments echoed many of the sentiments I heard at the Women’s Forum Global Meeting 2017 in Paris. “We’ll do it ourselves,” said Jean-Bernard Lévy, chairman and CEO of EDF in regard to corporations’ response to the US decision.

Just ten years ago, I’m not sure companies would be as active in the global conversation about climate change action as they are now. We’ve come a long way, and I remain hopeful that addressing climate change meaningfully on a global scale will progress.

But the momentum around climate change is uneven. Women are more likely to feel the impact of climate change, but in many cases they are less likely to be involved in solutions to mitigate them.[1] Around the world, especially in the areas most vulnerable to climate change, women are underrepresented in policymaking and regulatory decision-making. Their voices, perspectives and innovation are needed on an issue that affects everyone – both women and men.   

The Global Meeting of the Women’s Forum was an opportunity to showcase the most engaging and daring of those perspectives. “Today, there are more and more women becoming climate leaders. But even if there are more women becoming climate leaders, there are still barriers for them to become leaders,” said Fanny Giansetto, co-founder of EcoTable and one of C40’s Women4Climate mentees

Much like women’s leadership in the workplace and in government, opportunities for women to take the lead on climate deserve top-to-bottom support. Alexandra Palt, Chief Sustainability Officer at L’Oreal, explained that for all its sourcing projects, ”we now always have a programme to accompany women to fight climate change or to adapt to climate change”. Others spoke of the need for financiers to “dare to invest” in women-owned businesses or social enterprises.

Though the Women’s Forum Global Meeting 2017 is over, our work to amplify women’s perspectives and solutions to global issues like climate change continues. Our Climate Manifesto , launched earlier this year and already signed by more than 500 civic and business leaders from around the world, demonstrates our continued commitment to climate action in a disrupted world.

We have recently launched our publication on Medium to provide a thematic overview of the Global Meeting and give people access to the content through the lens of the big topics of our day. I hope you will join us there to continue the conversation and engage for impact.