At the UN Climate Summit companies played a leading role through initiatives designed to reduce pollution, conserve forests and combat climate change. While industry is often maligned for contributing to eco-degeneration, these claims are being blunted by new initiatives.
The business community is increasingly engaging in efforts to promote the transition to a low carbon economy, cut emissions, diminish deforestation, reduce pollution, adopt renewable sources of energy, increase the number of electric vehicles, and lower the carbon footprint of rail and aviation.
Here is a summary of 11 pledges made at the UN Climate Summit:
1. A new coalition was launched at the summit called We Mean Business, which aims to unify the private sector voice and highlight how business can benefit from a low-carbon economy.
2. A number of businesses also made renewable energy and other commitments through We Mean Business and other coalitions.
3. The World Bank released a statement signed by more than 1,000 companies and 73 countries in support of setting carbon price to shift to cleaner energy technologies. These companies are in addition to the nearly 350 global institutional investors, representing more than $24 trillion in assets, called on government leaders to adopt climate pricing.
4. About two dozen large firms commited to deforestation-free sourcing of products such as palm oil, soy and beef, USA Today reports. (Nestle, Kellogg’s, Hershey’s and General Mills have already made similar pledges).
5. Major palm oil users Mondelez International, Wilmar, Golden Agri-Resources and Cargill, and Asia Pulp and Paper, signed a pledge to cut the loss of forests in half by 2020 and end it in 2030.
6. The New York Declaration on Forests, a public-private partnership, aims to eliminate the emission of between 4.5 and 8.8 billion tons of carbon dioxide each year. It also calls for restoring at least 350 million hectares of degraded forest lands by 2030.
7. The Urban Electric Mobility Initiative — supported by companies including Michelin — aims to increase the number of electric vehicles in cities to least 30 percent of all new vehicles sold on annual basis by 2030.
8. The International Union of Railways launched the Low-Carbon Sustainable Rail Transport Challenge to promote the use of rails for freight and transport.
9. The International Association of Public Transport Declaration on Climate Leadership brings aims to provide climate-friendly public transportation to cities.
10. The International Civil Aviation Organization also promised to step up commitment to reach the industry’s long-term existing global goal to halve net CO2 emissions by 2050 compared to 2005 levels.
11. Major oil and gas companies, in partnership with the Climate and Clean Air Coalition, pledged to reduce methane leaks in fossil fuel production.
© 2014, Richard Matthews. All rights reserved.
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