A placard bearing the words 'The climate is changing, so should we #actnow'

The UN Climate Ambition Summit, an international gathering that brings together world leaders, corporations, and civil society to discuss and commit to specific actions to tackle climate change, serves as a focal point for discussions on global environmental policy. The summit is a veritable playground for activism, as it offers NGOs, advocacy groups, and activists a global platform to voice their concerns and exert influence. In this article, we delve into what the UN Climate Ambition Summit is and what kind of activism has been exhibited during the event.

What is the UN Climate Ambition Summit?

The UN Climate Ambition Summit aims to accelerate the global response to the escalating climate crisis. It serves as an arena for nations to declare their climate commitments, providing a yardstick against which progress can be measured. Importantly, it also allows for the engagement of non-state actors such as corporations and NGOs, thereby expanding the reach and influence of the summit’s outcomes.

Activism: An Amplified Voice

While the specific actions vary from year to year, our extensive database has shown an increasing trend of creative and impactful activism during these summits. Activist groups leverage social media, public protests, and coordinated campaigns to pressure governments and corporations to commit to more ambitious climate goals.

For instance, a tweet from Earthworks, an environmental NGO, caught our attention: Earthworks Tweet. This tweet highlights the lack of accountability and action on the part of corporations, encapsulating the sentiments of many activists who find the summit’s results lacking.

Various Forms of Activism

Digital Campaigns: Activist groups are employing social media to rapidly disseminate information and rally supporters.

Protests and Demonstrations: Physical demonstrations often coincide with the summit to attract media attention and increase pressure on attending delegations.

Corporate Engagement: More NGOs are directly engaging with corporations before and during the summit to ensure corporate pledges are not just ‘greenwashing.’

SIGWATCH’s Opinion

The rise of activism during these summits serves as a double-edged sword. On the one hand, it amplifies the urgency of the climate crisis and holds parties accountable. On the other, it raises questions about the efficacy of activism in bringing about substantive change when compared to the slow pace of political and corporate action.

Moreover, as experts in activism and corporate engagement, we observe that activism during the UN Climate Ambition Summit serves as a bellwether for trends in environmental, social, and corporate governance issues. However, it’s worth noting that activism, while impactful, is just one piece of a larger puzzle that includes policy shifts and corporate practices.


The UN Climate Ambition Summit stands as a critical juncture in the fight against climate change. The spotlight it puts on activism is equally important, providing a platform for voices calling for change. Corporations must be aware of this increasing activism, as failure to engage meaningfully could result in reputational damage and possibly even legal repercussions.

As the leading consultancy and data provider on activism, SIGWATCH encourages companies to closely follow these trends, engage with activist communities, and adapt their strategies accordingly. The interplay between activism and corporate behaviour at the UN Climate Ambition Summit could set the tone for broader climate policy and action in the years to come.

Check out this article on the SIGWATCH page on City AM’s ESG hub here and find more related content!

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