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Apple’s Concord Jing Tang wind farm produces 48 megawatts of clean energy Image: Apple
The UN General Assembly’s #ClimateWeek may have been dedicated to governments making new commitments to meeting the Paris Accord, but many corporations also announced actions they will take to reduce greenhouse gas emissions and improve their sustainability. According to The Climate Group, an NGO that works with businesses and governments to shift their climate policies, “[a]lmost 300 multinationals across every major sector are now committed to action, representing US$5.5 trillion in combined revenue, with operations in more than 140 markets and more than 16 million employees – almost double the workforce of New York State.” Just one example of corporate action announced this week: Apple and 10 of its suppliers in China will invest nearly $300 million by 2022 to develop projects totaling 1 gigawatt of renewable energy.
Why This Matters: While this is all good news, even The Climate Group admits that “a vast global scale-up is still needed” to deliver on the Paris Agreement and have even a shot at limiting global temperature rise to 1.5˚C. Despite these commitments announced here, according to The Washington Post, climate experts argue that many companies have still not made such commitments, and those that have must be even more ambitious. The Post cites a poll they conducted this summer to point out that 72 percent of the public believe that businesses and corporations are doing too little to reduce greenhouse gas emissions. The public is right. It is time for everyone to step up their efforts, including corporations and financial institutions.
More Actions Needed From Business
The Post quoted Durwood Zaelke, president of the Institute for Governance and Sustainable Development, who argued that corporations’ moving slowly is not sufficient and more is needed, saying, “[w]inning slowly is the same as losing,” he added, saying that the private sector needs to move “at a speed that’s similar to war footing.” Angel Gurría, secretary-general of the trade multinational Organization of Economic Cooperation and Development, pointed to two specific problems regarding infrastructure financing and small and medium-sized companies.
“the millions and trillions in the pension funds are not getting to the question of financing infrastructure, and financing infrastructure for climate change in particular.” Gurría said that “we’re basically needing a better way of channeling those resources.”
“Gurría said that while big companies fear for their reputation and worry about consumer backlash, small and medium-size companies don’t feel such pressures unless brought by big ones in their supply chains.”
In its annual Sustainability Report, Ford Motors made several key pledges in addition to the promise to be carbon neutral as a company by 2050. In addition, they will use 100 percent locally sourced renewable energy for all manufacturing plants globally by 2035, aspire to achieve zero air emissions from our facilities, only use recycled and renewable plastics in our vehicles globally and eliminate single-use plastics from our operations by 2030, and achieve true zero waste to landfill across our operations, among other social responsibility commitments.
Why This Matters: Other car companies have focused on products — Daimler Chrysler, VW, and Tesla come to mind.
Yesterday, online retail giant Amazon announced its Climate Pledge Fund–a $2 billion that will invest in companies that develop innovative ways to reduce carbon emissions. As the Verge explained, The fund will help Amazon and other companies adhere to The Climate Pledge initiative it started in September 2019. That pledge committed the company, and others […]
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