Big corporations sign climate change pledge

by Erica Shaffer
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Big corporations sign on to White House climate change pledge ahead of the UN global conference on climate change.
Big corporations sign on to White House climate change pledge ahead of the UN global conference on climate change.

WASHINGTON – More than a dozen leading corporations representing $1.3 million in revenues in 2014 signed on to the American Business Act on Climate Pledge. The White House held a private ceremony on July 27; Secretary of State John Kerry hosted the event.

Representatives from Cargill, Walmart, Alcoa, Apple, Bank of America, Berkshire Hathaway Energy, Coca-Cola, General Motors, Goldman Sachs, Google, Microsoft, PepsiCo and UPS added their support to the pledge which commits the companies to further reductions in greenhouse gas emissions and water use, increased use of renewable energy and support for negotiations during the 2015 UN Climate Change Conference to be held in Paris from Nov. 30 to Dec. 11.

Cargill highlighted the company’s environmental goals which were established 10 years ago. “We have improved energy efficiency by 16 percent, carbon intensity by 9 percent, and freshwater efficiency by 12 percent since setting energy goals in 2000 and climate and water goals in 2005,” the company said in a news release. “We continue to raise the bar and have set new goals through 2020.”

Over the next five years, Cargill pledged to:

• Improve greenhouse gas (GHG) intensity by 5 percent.
• Improve freshwater efficiency by 5 percent.
• Improve energy efficiency by 5 percent.
• Increase renewable energy to 18 percent of our total energy use, up from 14 percent.

Minneapolis-based Cargill is a founding member of the Global Roundtable for Sustainable Beef and the US Roundtable for Sustainable Beef.

Wal-Mart Stores, Inc., Bentonville, Ark., pledged to drive production or procurement of 7 billion kilowatt hours of renewable energy globally by Dec. 31, 2020. Additionally, the company also said it would double the number of on-site solar energy products at its stores, Sam’s Clubs and distribution centers in the United States. Walmart also pledged to:

• Reduce the total kWh-per-square-foot energy intensity required to power our buildings around the world by 20 percent by 2020 vs. the company’s 2010 baseline.

• Gain increasing visibility into key metrics regarding yields, water usage and GHGs in our food supply chains by 2025. Walmart is now working with suppliers, representing approximately 70 percent of the retailer’s food sales, to report yield, water and GHG footprints all the way back to the farm.

• Establish joint agricultural partnerships with 17 suppliers, cooperatives and service providers on 23 million acres of land in the US and Canada, with the potential to reduce 11 million metric tons of GHG by 2020.

• Achieve zero net deforestation in product sourcing by 2020 as part of The Consumer Goods Forum.

“At Walmart, we believe climate change is an urgent and pressing challenge, and we must all do our part to reduce, avoid and mitigate the impact of rising greenhouse gas (GHG) levels,” the company said in a news release. “We remain committed to our role in accelerating the transition to a sustainable future.”

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