Biggest US Companies Are Leading the Fight Against Climate Change
As it turns out, clean energy investments have also turned out to be more financially beneficial.
Under the Trump administration, protecting the environment has taken a backseat to big business initiatives. Trump’s “America First” platform has already included withdrawing from the Paris climate agreement, reviving the Keystone XL and Dakota Access pipeline project, and killing Obama’s Clean Power Plan.
Despite these efforts, the United States’ biggest companies continue to take ambitious steps towards reducing their greenhouse gas emissions and moving towards renewable energy sources, according to a report — Power Forward 3.0 — released last month by the World Wildlife Fund, CDP, Ceres, and Calvert Research and Management.
As a matter of fact, 63% of the largest companies in the Fortune 100 have set one or more clean energy targets, aligning themselves with the global goal of limiting temperature rise to below two degrees Celsius by 2030.
Nearly half of the smaller 100 companies in the Fortune 500 have set goals in support of climate and clean energy process — up 19% from the 2014 report.
“American businesses are leading the transition to a clean economy because it’s smart business and it’s what their customers want,” said Marty Spitzer, World Wildlife Fund’s senior director of climate and renewable energy. “Clean energy is fueling economic opportunity from coast to coast without regard for party line. Washington policies may slow this boom, but these companies are making it very clear that a transition to a low-carbon economy is inevitable.”
Clean energy investments have also become more financially beneficial to many of these Fortune 500 companies. In 2016 alone, nearly $3.7 billion were saved by the 80,000 emission-reducing projects launched by 190 of these companies.
The annual emission reduction from these efforts, the report added, was equivalent to taking 45 coal-fired power plants offline for a full year.
“We are encouraged to see significant improvement in both the number of Fortune 500 companies setting climate and clean energy goals,” said Anne Kelly, senior director of policy and the BICEP network at Ceres.
Among those companies is Apple, which saved a whopping 35.3 billion tons of coal from being burned last year and has worked to measure its carbon footprint and implement massive plans to reduce it.
Since 2011, the company has designed each new generation of its products to be as “energy efficient as possible,” sourcing from lower-carbon materials and procuring clean, renewable energy for 96% of the electricity used at its facilities worldwide.
Other companies making strides in their energy efficiency efforts include Wal-Mart, General Motors, Bank of America, Google, Facebook, Praxair, IBM, and Microsoft.
But this alone will not be enough to stave off global climate change.
“In order to meet our national and global emissions goals,” Kelly added, “more companies will need to join the champions highlighted in this report, both in setting goals in becoming vocal advocates.”