A growing number of major corporations are making promises on climate and the promises are getting more ambitious and for faster action. More companies are disclosing their carbon emissions and more of those companies have emissions reduction targets.
There has also been an acceleration in the rate at which companies set so-called science-based targets, which are specific, measurable carbon reduction goals that align the company with the Paris Agreement. Among the hundreds of companies with such targets are Coca-Cola, Nike, Best Buy, Walmart, and Hilton Hotels. According to one analysis, the number of Fortune 500 companies with concrete, ambitious carbon targets quadrupled in the past four year to 23%.
Environmental advocates have been pressuring companies for decades, but companies seem to be far more proactive now despite the fact that the U.S. government has largely dropped the ball on climate issues.
The reasons include the fact that the effects of climate change are becoming clearer to companies. Wildfires, rising sea levels, droughts and other aspects of the crisis both make headlines and affect business operations.
Meanwhile, solar and wind energy have gotten significantly cheaper, making it more attractive for companies to shift away from fossil fuels.
At the same time, investors are increasingly asking companies to act on climate issues. Consumers, employees, and the general public are increasingly demanding action and even children are adding to the pressure to act.
Making these commitments is one thing; following through on them and sticking to them is another. There are real concerns that there is a great deal of green-washing going on among companies trying to project a favorable image. In any case, if companies really want to lead on climate, they need to put their money where their mouths are.
Photo, posted June 22, 2016, courtesy of Mike Mozart via Flickr.