Editor's note: This post originally appeared on the EDF+Business blog.
By Victoria Mills
The chorus of business voices calling for climate action has grown steadily in size and strength in the months leading up to the Paris climate talks. Now that COP21 is finally here, companies have pumped up the volume even more, with a full-page ad in the Wall Street Journal (pictured right) and a wave of new commitments to the American Business Act on Climate Pledge.
Companies as diverse as Colgate-Palmolive, DuPont, eBay, General Mills, Ingersoll-Rand, Microsoft, Owens Corning and Pacific Gas & Electric signed on to the ad, which encourages the U.S. government to:
By signing the pledge, businesses not only declare their support for a strong outcome in Paris, but also commit to cut greenhouse gas emissions in their own operations. With this third wave of pledges, 154 companies are saying that a low-carbon economy is good for business. These companies have operations in all 50 states, employ nearly 11 million people, represent more than $4.2 trillion in annual revenue and have a combined market capitalization of over $7 trillion.
If you had asked Walmart 10 years ago how it was going to deliver the 20 million metric tons, it’s unlikely the company could have told you. But having an ambitious goal sealed its commitment and unleashed the creativity needed to get it done – and then some.
And that's exactly the message our negotiators in Paris need to hear: Set the targets needed to stabilize the climate, and let business innovate to meet them. Whatever the outcome of COP 21, the leadership these companies have demonstrated through their public commitments to address climate change will be even more important after the delegates come home and it’s time to turn talk into action. We look forward to seeing that leadership continue in the months and years ahead.
Image courtesy of the author.
Victoria Mills is Managing Director of Corporate Partnerships at Environmental Defense Fund (EDF).