More Than 200 Firms Pledge Net-Zero Carbon Emissions By 2040 As Pressure Rises

Nearly 90 new organizations have joined the Climate Pledge, an Amazon-backed effort that encourages businesses to commit to reaching net-zero carbon emissions by 2040. They include global corporate giant Procter & Gamble, software powerhouse HP, and cloud-computing titan Salesforce.

The Climate Pledge organizers welcomed 86 additional signatories on Monday, increasing the total number of firms engaged to 201. The fresh pledges come as the UN General Assembly convenes in New York City, with climate change negotiations set to take center – stage amid the high-profile gathering of world leaders.

It also follows a recent study by a United Nations panel, dubbed a “code red for humanity” by UN Secretary-General António Guterres, warning of severe environmental repercussions if prompt action is not done to reduce greenhouse gas emissions.

Other well-known brands that signed the commitment on Monday include ASOS, Nespresso, and Selfridges. Over 7 million people are employed by pledge signatories across 26 industries in 21 countries.

“Now, more than ever, I think that firms like Amazon have a duty to lead the battle for our planet,” Amazon CEO Andy Jassy said in a statement on Monday.lgnews-More-Than-200-Firms-Pledge.gif335

“However, tackling this issue needs all of us to act together, which is one of the reasons we’re so thrilled to announce that more than 200 firms have joined us in signing The Climate Pledge — a pledge to meet the Paris Agreement’s goals ten years ahead of schedule,” Jassy said.

In a second statement, David S. Taylor, CEO and president of Procter & Gamble, reiterated Jassy’s comments, adding that effectively tackling climate change “needs collaboration across industries and credible science-based measures.”

“Over the last decade, P&G has made considerable progress, but we recognize we need to do more,” Taylor continued. “The work at hand is urgent, demanding, and far more extensive than any single firm can do on its own. P&G is delighted to join The Climate Pledge in our efforts to protect our common planet for future generations.”

According to initiative organizers, if all of the companies kept their promises, they would collectively offset 1.98 billion metric tonnes of carbon emissions by 2040, or 5.4 percent of current world yearly emissions.

The companies have agreed to regularly measure and publish their greenhouse gas emissions, execute decarbonization plans in line with the Paris Agreement’s goals, and offset any residual emissions with extra and quantified offsets.

A United Nations panel published a study last month warning that the effects of human-caused climate change are serious and pervasive and that although there is still time to reduce warming, some effects would persist for millennia.

The Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change study urged for “immediate, fast, and large-scale reductions in greenhouse gas emissions” to keep future warming to 2 degrees Celsius over pre-industrial levels by 2050, as set forth in the Paris Agreement. The research also predicted that unless greenhouse gas emissions are significantly decreased, the globe will warm by more than 1.5 degrees in the next 20 years.lgnews-More-Than-200-Firms-Pledge.gif2

“The alarm bells are blaring, and the data is irrefutable: greenhouse gas emissions from fossil-fuel burning and deforestation are strangling our planet and putting billions of people at urgent risk,” said UN Secretary-General António Guterres in labeling the study a “code red.”

In 2019, Amazon’s then-CEO, Jeff Bezos, unveiled the Climate Pledge and the company’s goal to commit to net-zero carbon emissions by 2040, a decade ahead of the Paris Agreement. Bezos remarked at the time that if Amazon could “reach the Paris Agreement 10 years early,” “then any firm can.”

In a statement released Monday, Christiana Figueres, the former United Nations climate chief and now a founding partner of Global Optimism, the advocacy group spearheading the Climate Pledge with Amazon, said the IPCC report is the clearest warning yet that “the window of time to act decisively is closing.”

“This scientific wake-up call must be met with bravery and conviction,” she continued. “In this light, it’s good that 86 additional businesses, including some of the world’s most well-known brands, have joined The Climate Pledge, pledging to accelerate their activities to address climate change in a timely manner and contribute to the development of a low-carbon economy.”

In recent years, the private sector has been under tremendous pressure from customers and even shareholders to address climate change. According to the US Environmental Protection Agency, “industry” accounted for a whopping 23% of greenhouse gas emissions in 2019, trailing only transportation (29%) and electricity production (25%) — data that some advocates argue highlights the need for large-scale industry changes rather than putting the onus to combat climate change solely on individuals.

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