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Backing the Paris Agreement

We warmly welcome the commitment from United States President-Elect Joe Biden to rejoin the Paris Agreement on day one of his Administration. Climate action must also be at the core of the United States’ economic recovery plans and at the heart of its international policy. Businesses across America and around the world stand ready to work with the incoming Administration to implement its ambitious climate agenda.

Business backs the Paris Agreement because it offers our best chance of averting catastrophic climate change by uniting governments in a collective effort to tackle the climate crisis. It sets a shared goal, helps create a level playing field and provides a structure for collaboration and collective action.

The Paris framework and ambitious national targets provide the clarity and confidence that companies need to make long-term investments that reduce emissions, drive innovation, competitiveness, risk management and growth — while raising the confidence of investors, customers and employees alike.

No single nation, company or individual can tackle the climate crisis alone. By quickly and decisively rejoining the Paris Agreement, and mobilizing a whole-of-government plan for increasing ambition and accelerating implementation across all sectors, the United States will send a clear message to business, investors and the rest of the world that the direction of travel is toward a prosperous zero-carbon economy.

In the years since the Paris Agreement was negotiated, the impacts of the climate crisis have been felt with ever increasing intensity by every nation on the planet, including the United States. These impacts are disproportionately affecting marginalized communities — particularly communities of color — and shedding light on the intersection between climate justice and racial justice. At the same time, efforts to reduce emissions have time and again proven to be powerful drivers of economic growth, better jobs and cleaner air for all. 

The benefits of bold climate action hold in the face of the COVID-19 pandemic. Modeling shows that green recovery plans can boost income, employment and GDP better than return-to-normal stimulus measures, while significantly reducing emissions beyond the levels seen in 2020. In responding to the pandemic, we have the unique opportunity to simultaneously address several crises that society faces: public health, the economic downturn, the climate crisis and the linkages between climate justice and racial justice.

What works for business works for climate, which is why almost 1,400 of the world’s most influential companies, 230+ of them headquartered in the United States, have committed to take action to tackle the climate crisis through the We Mean Business coalition’s partners’ initiatives. Their combined market cap is equivalent to almost a quarter of global GDP, and they represent every sector of the economy from industry to finance, retail to chemicals. 

With the United States recommitted to the Paris Agreement, companies will have the confidence to double down and act on their climate commitments at an even greater pace. This action is critical if we are to halve global emissions in the next decade and secure sustainable growth and prosperity for all.

Harness climate action

as a driver of innovation, competitiveness, risk management and growth.

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The transition to a zero carbon economy is inevitable. Now is the time for companies to start preparing for a zero carbon future.

Jill Duggan, Director of The Prince of Wales’s Corporate Leaders Group

This milestone [Paris] Agreement is an important step in ensuring we can maintain quality of life on our planet for future generations.

Neil McArthur, CEO Arcadis

Now businesses are enabled to work together with governments and communities to shape the policies and take the actions necessary to transition to a low carbon future.

Richard Lancaster, CEO of CLP

We are entering an era of system transformation. Business is already playing a leadership role through global collaboration and low carbon partnership initiatives to drive innovation and structural change.

Peter Bakker, President of WBCSD

The global transition to a low-carbon economy is urgent, inevitable, and accelerating faster than we ever believed possible.

Paul Polman, CEO of Unilever and Chairman of the World Business Council for Sustainable Development

We are already not only bending the curve of emissions but actually already in a global consensus about the inevitability of the major shift that will occur in this century.

Christiana Figueres

Investors are interested in our total water stewardship as it is directly linked to our business strategy, long-term growth and company acceptance.

Coca-Cola HBC

In anticipation of changing weather patterns and potential shortages of water, we have made water efficiency a key strategic ambition shaping our product range.

Syngenta

Water risks pose social, environmental and ultimately financial risks. Therefore it is obligatory for all sites, affiliates and operations to include a water risk assessment within their overall risk assessment procedures.

Roche Holding

As corporations make an effort to enhance energy productivity there will be innovation and development of new technologies that will change the way we live and work.

Anirban Ghosh, CSO, Mahindra Group

We find that many of our suppliers can reduce their energy consumption by 5% or more with basic training and implementation of low-cost/no-cost improvement measures.

Clay Nesler, Vice President for Global Energy & Sustainability at Johnson Controls

Reducing energy consumption will be the primary vehicle in achieving our goals. We are very pleased to be the first property company to sign up to EP100, ensuring we will increase our energy productivity for the benefit of our customers.

Robert Noel, Chief Executive, Land Securities

For a company with our global footprint, increasing our energy productivity by two-thirds as we have done since 2002 means that we are spending over US$100 million less in energy bills each year than if our energy productivity had remained constant.

Clay Nesler, Vice President for Global Energy & Sustainability at Johnson Controls

Going 100% renewable will deliver on our consumer promise to deliver brands that are responsibly produced in a world of finite resources.

Marc Engel, Chief Supply Chain Officer, Unilever

Climate change is a huge risk to the long-term supply of safe, high quality ingredients for Nestlé’s products as crop yields fall and production areas shift. We are determined to play our part in taking climate action by purchasing renewable electricity.

Pascal Gréverath, Head of Environmental Sustainability, Nestlé

Renewable energy plays a key role in achieving our ongoing commitment to carbon neutrality, as we aim to use 100% renewable energy to meet our global electricity needs by 2020.

Anthony Cammarata, Managing Director, Goldman Sachs

Electricity costs are one of the largest components of our operating expenses at our data centers, and having a long-term stable cost of renewable power provides protection against price swings in energy.

Urs Hölzle, Senior Vice President, Technical Infrastructure, Google

By investing in renewables we can not only reduce our emissions but also future proof the business.

Laurel Peacock, Senior Manager of Sustainability, NRG

We wouldn’t be doing this if it didn’t make business and economic sense… It is the way the market is trending and what our customers are demanding.

Laurel Peacock, Senior Manager of Sustainability, NRG

Our target puts us in a good position vis-à-vis government regulation. We are fully compliant with the UK government’s existing targets, and would be well placed were they to introduce more stringent regulation for companies.

Tom Byrne, Energy Manager at Land Securities

We want to know how exposed a particular business is to the changing context on climate and what it is practically doing to make the changes required; including its targets, timeframes and the extent of its ambition.

Andy Howard, Head of Sustainable Research at Schroders

By doubling the efficiency of our US fleet [over five years], Walmart avoided the emission of nearly 650,000 metric tons of CO², while also saving nearly US$1 billion in the past fiscal year.

Rob Walton, Walmart

Ambitious greenhouse gas reduction goals help our teams rally around low-carbon innovation. Of course knowing that our goals are backed by the current climate research increases buy-in and commitment at all levels of the company.

Alexandra Palt, Chief Sustainability Officer, L’Oreal

We are working towards building a clean energy future. Expanding the share of renewables is key to addressing the chronic energy crisis our country is facing today.

Ramadas Kamath, Executive Vice President and Head – Infrastructure and Sustainability, Infosys

I believe that companies are, above all, agents of transformation. We all work at an intersection of economic, political, social and environmental dimensions and have either positive or negative impacts on all of them.

Guilherme Leal, B Team Leader and one of the founders of Natura Cosméticos

I spend a lot of my time saying to business leaders, we are citizens of the world. We cannot just leave things to the social sector and to the politicians to speak up about these climate change issues. We have as much clout as they, if not more than some of them, and we have the responsibility to speak out. And it makes good business sense.

Richard Branson, Founder, Virgin Group

…we’re working in partnerships even with our competitors, but also with governments and other industries. But to help us get there, we need policymakers to play their role. We need them to give us certainty. We need them to level out the playing field.

Hannah Jones, Vice President Sustainable Business & Innovation, Nike

When it comes to climate change, there is some concern about the regulatory policy system. We’re fearful of sudden government interaction. Nothing happens for four or five years and suddenly you are slammed with a huge regulatory system that you were unprepared for. Better to introduce it carefully and voluntarily now – rather than have it unleashed upon us.

Mike Barry, Director of Sustainable Business, Marks & Spencer

From a policy perspective, General Motors and businesses in general look for long-term certainty and clarity. When you get the market, the customers, our products and policy all aligned, that’s when you can drive true transformation of an industry.

David Tulauskas, Director Sustainability, General Motors

Two fiscal policy tools can drive decarbonisation: carbon pricing and the end of fossil fuel subsidies. Paying a price for emissions while, at the same time, encouraging the activity that causes them is perverse.

Sandrine Dixson-Declève, Director of The Prince of Wales’s Corporate Leaders Group

No CEO would survive if they said climate change is not real

Mike Bloomberg, Former NYS Mayor

Moving capital toward a low-carbon economy protects their beneficiaries’ returns, and is one of the fastest ways to address global warming. Companies take note when investors take action, and when money moves, the world moves too.

Lance Pierce, President of CDP North America

California’s political and business leaders arrived (in Paris) with the clear conviction that climate is not only real, but demands action. Our experience offers a wealth of practical lessons for how to make rapid, sustainable progress toward the clean energy future.

Tony Earley, Chairman, CEO and President, PG&E

Science shows that climate change will reduce food productivity and food security at the same time our world’s population is growing and requiring us to feed more people with fewer natural resources.

John Bryant, CEO, Kellogg Company

As a global food company, we recognize the significant impacts climate change can have on our business if left unaddressed.

Ken Powell, CEO, General Mills

(Climate change) is absolutely a threat. And that’s why we’re doing all that we’re doing today.

Barry Parkin, CSO, Mars

I think what we’ve shown already in North Carolina is that when you provide the incentives – the investments tax credits for solar; when you have the renewable energy portfolio — it works.

Letitia Webster, Senior Director, VF

Low-carbon, sustainable investments are key to our future.

Tom DiNapoli, New York State Comptroller

We want the underlying companies in our ($300 billion) portfolio to be aligned with the transition to a low-carbon global economy.

Anne Simpson, Global Governance Investment Director, CalPERS

If you can do one thing for me today, please, never refer to clean energy as “alternative energy” again.

Michael Liebreich, Founder & Chairman of Bloomberg New Energy Finance Advisory Board

Getting to the Paris Agreement was the easy component, it meant setting the starting line. Now we have to turn those intentions into implemented activities and projects.

Christiana Figueres, Executive Secretary, UNFCCC

There seems to be a tendency to believe that now that the Paris Agreement is done, it is now up to governments. But the real action starts now. The business community and civil society need to push governments so that they will keep this agreement.

Ban Ki-Moon, Secretary-General, United Nations

The once unthinkable has now become unstoppable. This train is moving. It started at the Paris station, it has to go and move.

Ban Ki-Moon, Secretary-General, United Nations

The entry into force of the Paris Agreement just ten months after COP21 is a defining moment for the global economy.

Paul Polman, CEO of Unilever and Chairman of the World Business Council for Sustainable Development

The global transition to a low-carbon economy is urgent, inevitable, and accelerating faster than we ever believed possible.

Paul Polman, CEO of Unilever and Chairman of the World Business Council for Sustainable Development

We are entering an era of system transformation. Business is already playing a leadership role through global collaboration and low carbon partnership initiatives to drive innovation and structural change.

Peter Bakker, President of the World Business Council for Sustainable Development

Now businesses are enabled to work together with governments and communities to shape the policies and take the actions necessary to transition to a low carbon future.

Richard Lancaster, CEO of CLP

This milestone Paris Agreement is an important step in ensuring we can maintain quality of life on our planet for future generations.

Neil McArthur, CEO Arcadis

The significance of the Paris Agreement and its universal impact cannot be underestimated. The transition to a zero carbon economy is inevitable. Now is the time for companies to start preparing for a zero carbon future.

Jill Duggan, Director of The Prince of Wales’s Corporate Leaders Group

What the Paris Agreement means for business

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