We Mean Business Coalition


Project of:

New Venture Fund


Nigel Topping

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The We Mean Business coalition is a European-American coalition of advocacy groups that aims to get private business to take action on climate change and achieve net zero carbon emissions and to push governments to adopt environmentalist policies. It is a project of the New Venture Fund, a grantmaking and incubation service for left-of-center policy advocacy within the Arabella Advisors network of “dark money” organizations. 1


We Mean Business describes itself as a global nonprofit coalition to take action on climate change to reach a zero-carbon economy. 2 The coalition seeks to mobilize businesses to set ambitious goals and to influence governments to enact strict environmentalist policies. The organization is seeking a “collaborative partnership between business and government.” 3

More than 900 companies representing $17.6 trillion in the market capitalization have joined the We Mean Business Take Action Campaign. The organization says 175 firms committed to switching to 100 percent renewable electricity, while 560 companies set emission reduction targets. 4

Nigel Topping is the CEO of We Mean Business. He previously served as the executive director of the Carbon Disclosure Project and has almost two decades’ experience in the manufacturing sector. 5

The main coalition partners for We Mean Business are: BSR, a nonprofit working with 250 companies on environmental matters; the Climate Group, a nonprofit consulting firm with companies; CDP, a nonprofit urging investors, companies and cities to take urgent climate action; Prince of Wales Corporate Leaders Group, a European business leaders’ group focused on climate change; Ceres, an environmentalist nonprofit working with investors and businesses; the World Business Council for Sustainable Development, a CEO group representing 200 companies; and The B Team, a nonprofit business leaders group promoting environmental solutions. 6

The IKEA Foundation is the largest financial supporter of We Mean Business. 7

Policy Proposals

The organization claims net zero carbon emissions by 2050 is achievable, a view disputed by others. 8 To do this, it calls for governments around the world to implement numerous policies.

The policies include implementing regulations recommended by the Task Force on Climate-related Financial Disclosure, to phase out all conventional energy subsidies by 2025, to put an end to internal combustion engine sales by 2030, to subsidize electric vehicles, to establish a moratorium on new coal-powered plants and phase out existing ones, and to subsidize retrofitting buildings. 9

Toppings, the We Mean Business CEO, said that governments must increase the cost of carbon for consumers, explaining to Qatari state-owned media property Al Jazeera, “This will be an important step towards driving innovation, efficiency and risk management, which will strengthen the global competitiveness of countries’ key industries to be market leaders in a zero-carbon world.” 10

Ahead of the United Nations Climate Action Summit in September 2019, the U.N. Global Compact and the Science Based Targets Initiative joined the We Mean Business coalitionto announce 28 companies, with a combined market capitalization of $1.3 trillion were setting a “new level of climate ambition.” The companies included Acciona, AstraZeneca, Banka BioLoo, BT, Enel, Hewlett Packard Enterprise, Iberdrola, Levi Strauss & Co., Mahindra Group, Natura & Co, Novozymes, Royal DSM, SAP, Telefonica, Unilever, Vodafone Group PLC, and Zurich Insurance. 11


  1. Hayden Ludwig. “Big Money in Dark Shadows: Arabella Advisors’ Half-billion-dollar ‘Dark Money’ Network.” Capital Research Center. Published April 2019. Accessed July 31, 2019.
  2. About. We Mean Business. Accessed October 25, 2019.
  3. About. We Mean Business. Accessed October 25, 2019.
  4. Topping, Nigel. “Is Your Company Ready for a Zero-Carbon Future?” Harvard Business Review. June 21, 2019. Accessed October 25, 2019.
  5. Topping, Nigel. “Is Your Company Ready for a Zero-Carbon Future?” Harvard Business Review. June 21, 2019. Accessed October 25, 2019.
  6. About. We Mean Business. Accessed October 25, 2019.
  7. About. We Mean Business. Accessed October 25, 2019.
  8. Mills, Mark P. “The ‘New Energy Economy’: An Exercise in Magical Thinking.” Manhattan Institute, March 26, 2019.
  9. Policy. We Mean Business. Accessed October 25, 2019.
  10. Piven, Ben. “Mission Possible: Can Green Growth Solve the Climate Crisis.” Al Jazeera. September 27, 2019. Accessed October 25, 2019.
  11. “28 Companies With Total Market Cap of $1.3T, Rise to New Level of Climate Ambition.” Better Brands. July 26, 2019. Accessed October 25, 2019.
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