It’s Time for CEOs of Corporate America to Step Up on Climate Policy

Amy Davidsen, Executive Director, North America
15 November 2019

The science is clear – the Earth is warming at a rapid pace that is creating unprecedented risks to our health, safety, and future prosperity. Limiting global warming to avoid the catastrophic effects of climate change requires immediate and ongoing accelerated action by all sectors of society. 

That’s why in October, we and ten other leading environmental organizations published a letter in the New York Times urging CEOs of corporate America to step up their engagement on climate policy. In the letter, we commend the companies that have already set science-based greenhouse gas emissions reduction targets and we are calling for others to join them in committing to achieve net-zero emissions by 2050 in order to keep global warming to no more than 1.5°C (2.7°F).  

We want businesses to adopt a science-based climate policy agenda that aligns with the recommendations of the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC). In the face of the U.S. government rolling back its climate-forward policies and officially communicating their intention to withdraw from the Paris Agreement, we are encouraging businesses to use their influence to help push governments to act.

We are asking businesses to take three essential actions:

  1. Advocate for policies at the national, subnational and / or sectoral level that are consistent with achieving net-zero emissions by 2050;
  2. Align their trade associations’ climate policy advocacy to be consistent with the goal of net-zero emissions by 2050; and
  3. Allocate advocacy spending to advance climate policies, not obstruct them.

Businesses have the power to shape markets and policies in favor of clean energy. We witness this through The Climate Group’s work with almost 300 of the world’s largest businesses, who have committed to our leading initiatives on renewables (RE100), electric vehicles (EV100) and smarter efficient energy (EP100).

In September during Climate Week NYC, over 20 additional companies joined one or more of these initiatives, and many more announced the progress they are making. For example, Unilever achieved 100% renewable electricity across five continents as it works towards their goal to become carbon neutral by 2030; Genetech committed to converting its entire sales fleet of more than 1,300 vehicles to EV or plug-in hybrid and the majority of its commuter buses to electric by 2030; Vornado Realty committed to improve its energy productivity by 35% by 2026 from a 2009 baseline; and Mars, one of the first members of RE100, already has ten country locations running on renewable power, including the U.S., Spain, and Mexico with a goal of achieving 100% renewable electricity globally by 2040.

Encouraging progress is underway, but the challenges before us are immense.

As we enter this next critical decade of climate action, when global emissions must be cut in half, businesses must step forward to lift their voice on smart climate policies that will protect our air, water and land, improve our children’s health, and ensure a safe and prosperous future for all.

I am proud to stand with BSR, C2ES, CDP North America, Ceres, Conservation International, Environmental Defense Fund, The Nature Conservancy, Union of Concerned Scientists, World Resources Institute, and World Wildlife Fund in this joint statement.

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