Over the past year, interest in climate change has peaked as embodied in the nearly 600% growth in signatories to the Climate Pledge, which requires businesses to measure and report gas emissions as well as implement decarbonization strategies in line with the Paris Agreement.
On March 14, 2022, Maersk, the world’s largest shipping container company added its signature to the document. The company wasn’t alone as 100 new companies joined as well including SAP, Weyerhaeuser Sunrun and Harman.
To understand the size of the new and previous companies involved in this effort, together these companies generate over $3.5 trillion in global annual revenues and have more than 8 million employees across 51 industries in 29 countries.
“The effects of climate change are becoming more and more apparent in our surroundings and daily lives, and we firmly believe that the private sector must continue to innovate and collaborate across regions and industries in order to decarbonize the global economy at scale,” said Andy Jassy, Amazon CEO, in a statement. “It’s an encouraging sign that more than 300 businesses have now signed The Climate Pledge, which commits them to confronting climate change head-on by incorporating real business changes that will make a lasting impact on our planet. We can only do it together.”
With regard to their commitment to align with the Paris Agreements companies are required to achieve this through “real business changes and innovations, including efficiency improvements, renewable energy, materials reductions, and other carbon emission elimination strategies.”
They must also neutralize any remaining emissions with additional, quantifiable, real, permanent, and socially beneficial offsets to achieve net-zero annual carbon emissions by 2040.
Many of the new Pledge signatories are already making great strides toward reducing their carbon emissions:
- Maersk is providing industry-leading green customer offerings across the supply chain, including Maersk ECO Delivery, which targets emission reductions in ocean shipping. Amazon began participating in this service in 2020 and continues today. Amazon’s participation reduced emissions by approximately 20 KTons of CO2e (the equivalent of 50 million average passenger vehicle miles) in 2021.
- SAP recently accelerated its target for achieving net-zero carbon emissions to 2030—20 years earlier than originally targeted.
- Weyerhaeuser is sustainably managing forests and manufacturing wood products across North America to provide a sustainable supply of wood for homes and countless other products while protecting wildlife habitat and serving as a natural climate solution through carbon sequestration and storage. Weyerhaeuser reforests 100 percent of its timberlands after harvesting—planting between 130 and 150 million trees each year.
- Sunrun’s systems have prevented 8.1 million metric tons of carbon emissions, which is equivalent to negating 20 billion miles driven by an average passenger vehicle.
- With a long-standing focus on purpose, sustainability is one of HARMAN’s key strategic business pillars. As part of HARMAN’s commitment to achieving net-zero carbon across Scope 1, 2, and 3 emissions by 2040, it’s working toward ambitious, measurable shorter-term targets that aim to reduce emissions, energy usage, and waste across its value chain. HARMAN has introduced new product lines made from responsibly sourced and recycled materials and has committed to 100 percent renewable energy in all HARMAN factories by 2025.
The increased company activity is supported by the latest report from the United Nations’ Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change , which emphasizes the need for immediate action to reduce greenhouse gas emissions, to invest in natural climate solutions to limit warming to close to 1.5 degrees Celsius, and to mitigate damages.