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The Russian Navy confirmed on Wednesday the discovery of new islands in their Arctic waters that have emerged as the glaciers around them melted, which scientists warn is happening because of climate change. And yesterday, a group of corporations led by Nike and the conservation group Ocean Conservancy announced the launch of the Arctic Shipping Corporate Pledge under which they agree not to intentionally ship goods through the Arctic shipping routes that are opening up as a result of the same melting.
Why This Matters: The discovery of new islands in the Arctic is not likely to be an isolated incident — in fact between 2015 and 2018, more than 30 new islands, capes, and bays along the Russian Arctic coastline were “discovered.” This is why the Arctic Shipping Pledge could not come at a better time — when the pressure to increase shipping there, with associated ice risks and pollution, is escalating. Adopting the “precautionary principle” with shipping in the Arctic is the best thing to do, and is consistent with an international agreement banning commercial fishing in the high Arctic that is already in place.
Arctic Shipping Pledge
The companies taking the pledge both “acknowledge that greenhouse gas emissions from global shipping are jeopardizing the Arctic” and agree to look for other ways to reduce emissions from global shipping, as well as acknowledge that “climate risks already impacting or threatening Arctic peoples, sea life and ecosystems.”
“Ocean Conservancy applauds Nike for recognizing the real bottom line here is a shared responsibility for the health of the Arctic—and believes the pledge will spur much-needed action to prevent risky Arctic shipping and hopes additional commitments to reduce emissions from global shipping will emerge,” said Janis Searles Jones, CEO of Ocean Conservancy.
Other companies that have signed the pledge so far include Bestseller, Columbia, Gap Inc., H&M, Kering, Li & Fung, PVH Corp., and ocean shipping companies CMA CGM, Evergreen, Hapag-Lloyd, and Mediterranean Shipping Company.
A new study by leading economists and scientists released yesterday makes a strong case for conserving at least 30% of the planet by demonstrating that investing in nature as opposed to using it up yields significantly better economic results as well as saving money that would otherwise be spent on the impacts of climate change and biodiversity loss.
Why This Matters: Since it is TBT I (Monica) will harken back to 1992’s political mantra — “it’s the economy, stupid.”
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.
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