Businesses have signed two climate promises in recent years. The most recent is the Climate Pledge which was founded by Amazon along with Global Optimism an organization founded by Christiana Figueres, the UN’s former climate change chief and Tom Rivett-Carnac, a former senior advisor to the Executive Secretary at the UN Climate Convention. As part of his work with the UN, Carnac developed the political strategy for the landmark Paris Climate Agreement.
The Climate Pledge is a commitment to meet the goals of the Paris Agreement 10 years early. It calls on signatories to reach net zero carbon emissions across their businesses by2040, a decade ahead of the Paris Agreement goal of 2050.
Companies that sign the Climate Pledge agree to:
- Measure and report greenhouse gas emissions on a regular basis
- Implement decarbonization strategies in line with the Paris Agreement through real business changes and innovations, including efficiency improvements, renewable energy, materials reductions, and other carbon emission elimination strategies
- Neutralize any remaining emissions with additional, quantifiable, real, permanent, and socially-beneficial offsets to achieve
“Bold steps by big companies will make a huge difference in the development of new technologies and industries to support a low carbon economy,” Figueres said.
Another climate pledge was launched under U.S. President Barack Obama. A total of 154 businesses signed the American Business Act on Climate Pledge. The pledge reads as follows:
We applaud the nearly 200 countries that came together to adopt the most ambitious climate change agreement in history. We believe the Paris Agreement establishes a long term, durable global framework to reduce global greenhouse gas emissions and charts an irreversible course for
investment in a low-carbon, sustainable future. We call on all countries to take steps to implement their contributions to the Paris Agreement and put forward increasingly ambitious targets over time. And as
companies, we will strive to do the same – by implementing our climate commitments, set before the Agreement was adopted or that we set in the months ahead.
We recognize that delaying action on climate change will be costly in economic and human terms, while accelerating the transition to a low-carbon economy will produce multiple benefits with regard to
sustainable economic growth, public health, resilience to natural disasters, and the health of the global environment.
By signing the American Business Act on Climate pledge, companies demonstrated an ongoing commitment to climate action. As part of this initiative, each company made pledges such as reducing their emissions, increasing low-carbon investments, deploying more clean energy, reducing water consumption, sending no waste to landfills, procuring 100 percent renewables and ending deforestation in their supply chains.
In 2016 Donald Trump became president and he pulled the United States out of the Paris Agreement. Trump has also systematically dismantled climate action along with a raft of almost 100 environmental protections.