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Hundreds of US Companies Urge Climate Action As John Kerry, Others Calls For More “Business Diplomacy”

Companies, Investors Pledge Climate Action, Encourage Low-Carbon Policy

The “Low-Carbon USA” movement continues to gain traction as over 600 private sector entities including well-known consumer giants such as Nike and IKEA recently reaffirmed their commitment to the objectives of the Paris Climate Agreement. The group is also urging the incoming administration of US President-elect Donald Trump to advance low-carbon policies and investments.

A press release posted in its entirety.

10 January 2017 | More than 530 companies and 100 investors – from iconic Fortune 500 firms to small family-owned businesses – are calling on the Trump administration and the new Congress to support policies to accelerate a low-carbon future that will help curb climate change.

“We want the U.S. economy to be energy efficient and powered by low-carbon energy,” the businesses wrote in a statement of support announced today, in advance of the presidential inauguration. “Cost-effective and innovative solutions can help us achieve these objectives. Failure to build a low-carbon economy puts American prosperity at risk. But the right action now will create jobs and boost U.S. competitiveness.”

The company signatories, which include DuPont, Gap Inc., General Mills, Hewlett Packard Enterprise, Hilton, HP Inc., IKEA, Johnson & Johnson, The Kellogg Company, Levi Strauss & Co., L’Oreal USA, NIKE, Mars Incorporated, Pacific Gas and Electric, Schneider Electric, Sealed Air, Starbucks, VF Corporation, Unilever, among others. These signatories collectively take in nearly $1.15 trillion in annual revenue, are headquartered across 44 states, and employ about 1.8 million people.

“It’s imperative that businesses take an active role in meeting the goals set out by the Paris Climate Agreement,” said Anna Walker, Senior Director of Global Policy and Advocacy at Levi Strauss & Co. “It will be critical that we work together to ensure the U.S. maintains its climate leadership, ultimately ensuring our nation’s long-term economic prosperity.”

“All parts of society have a role to play in tackling climate change, but policy and business leadership is crucial,” said Lars Petersson, president of IKEA U.S. “The Paris Agreement was a bold step towards a cleaner, brighter future, and must be protected. IKEA will continue to work together with other businesses and policymakers to build a low-carbon economy, because we know that together, we can build a better future.”

The investor signatories, which collectively manage more than $2 trillion in assets, include leading institutional investors such as the New York State Common Retirement Fund, the California State Teachers Retirement System (CalSTRS), Westpath Benefits and Investments, and Trillium Asset Management.

“With tens of billions of dollars of U.S. renewable energy investment in the works this year alone, and far more globally, the question for American political leadership is whether they want to harness this momentum and potential for economic growth,” said Jonas Kron, senior vice president at Trillium Asset Management. “It is critically important to realize this is an opportunity that state policymakers can take advantage of, too, not just national leaders.”

The full statement of support, the list of signatories and an interactive map showing how widespread the business support is across the U.S. can be found at www.lowcarbonusa.org.

The statement underscores that support for a low-carbon economy is stronger than ever: nearly half of Fortune 500 companies have targets to reduce greenhouse gas emissions, buy renewable energy and/or increase energy efficiency.

“Unilever remains committed to addressing climate change and implementing business practices that support a low carbon economy,” said Kees Kruythoff, president of Unilever North America. “We continue to support and drive the Paris Agreement and Unilever’s global goal to be carbon positive by 2030.”

Specifically, the signatories are calling on elected U.S. leaders to strongly support:

  • Continuation of low-carbon policies in order to allow the U.S. to meet or exceed its promised national commitments.
  • Investment in the low-carbon economy at home and abroad in order to give financial decision-makers clarity and boost investor confidence.
  • Continued U.S. participation in the Paris Climate Agreement in order to provide the long-term direction needed to limit global warming.

The signatories reaffirmed their “deep commitment” to addressing climate change, and pledged to do their part – in their own operations and beyond – to “realize the Paris Climate Agreement’s commitment of a global economy that limits global temperature rise to well below two-degrees Celsius.

“California has ambitious, clearly defined climate goals and is committed to acting as a global leader on this important issue,” said Melissa Lavinson, Vice President of Federal Affairs and Policy and Chief Sustainability Officer at PG&E Corporation. “We support the state’s vision for a clean energy future and agree that we need to take action today to meet the challenge.”

“At Sealed Air, we are proud to reaffirm our commitment to this objective and to underline the important role that businesses have in combating climate change,” said Sealed Air CEO Jerome Peribere. “In addition, we are again dedicating our support of energy efficient operations and a focus on lower carbon emissions as a signatory of the Business Backs a Low Carbon USA statement. We’re proving our commitment daily as seen in our aggressive sustainability goals, our operations, and in our innovative solutions that prevent waste across supply chains.”

More than half of these signatories released a statement of support for the Paris Climate Agreement at COP22 in Marrakech in November. The number of signatories has nearly doubled in the 60 days since then and more companies and investors are expected to sign on in the coming weeks and months.

“Creating jobs, and establishing the United States as an innovative world leader in creating a clean energy economy is a no brainer for the Trump administration,” said Aspen Skiing Company CEO Mike Kaplan. “If we stick to the Paris Agreement and the Clean Power Plan, we’re well on our way to growing the manufacturing sector and protecting jobs in the $650 billion outdoor industry.”

“Avery Dennison is an enterprise founded on the basis of being a force for good,” said Roland Simon, Vice President of Global Procurement Materials Group and Corporate Sustainability at Avery Dennison. “Our steadfast commitment to doing what’s right to continually reduce industry impacts on the environment is why we support Low Carbon USA.”

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