Business Is In a Position To Lead On Climate Action

When it comes to the environment, the Trump presidency is a string of bad news. Recently, President Trump announced that the U.S. would pull out of the Paris climate agreement. “So, we’re getting out,” he proclaimed.

While Trump decided that climate change is not worth dealing with, the business world has been taking action to reduce the greenhouse gas emissions that cause climate change. Several businesses responded to the announcement by affirming that the business community believes climate change is real and is taking action. Disney and General Electric are two of those companies. Disney is so serious about climate change that the company which brought us iconic characters such as Mickey Mouse and Donald Duck has reduced its net GHG emissions by 37 percent. Its goal is to reduce net emissions by 50 percent by 2020. 
GE reduced its GHG emissions by 18 percent from 2011 through 2016. Since 2005, the company that brings good things to life has set GHG emissions reductions goals, and in 2014 set a goal to reduce emissions by 20 percent by 2020. GE makes it very clear on its website that it supports the Paris climate agreement, calling it “an important milestone in the journey to reduce global GHG emissions.”

Mars, Incorporated has an ambitious goal of eliminating all GHG emissions from its operations by 2040. In 2015, the company that produces everything from sweets to pet food announced it has met its goal to reduce emissions by 25 percent. It’s an accomplishment Mars attributes in part to its wind farm in Mesquite Creek, Texas. In one year, the wind farm enabled it to reduce its emissions from use of electricity, heat or steam by almost 40 percent. The wind farm generates energy equivalent to 100 of the electricity needs for its U.S. operations. Renewable energy continues to play a part in reducing its GHG emissions. In May 2016, Mars began buying electricity from a wind farm in Scotland of all 12 of its U.K. sites, and in 2017 will achieve 100 percent renewable energy for its Mexico and Belgium operations.

After Trump issued an executive order to repeal the Clean Power Plan, Hewlett Packard Enterprise (HPE) CEO Lara Birkes wrote it presents business leaders with “a unique opportunity to advance innovation, harness the digital revolution and embrace a low carbon future by creating jobs in renewable energy and clean tech.” Birkes knows what she write about as she is head of a company that has set goals of reducing its GHG emissions by 20 percent by 2020 and using 50 percent renewable energy to power its operations by 2025.

What all of these companies show by their work to reduce their emissions is that climate change is very real and it is something important enough for the business world to set as a priority issue. Business is “increasingly filling the void,” wrote Birkes, in a time when the U.S. federal government is rolling back environmental regulations. And that puts companies in a unique position to be leaders of climate action. 

Photo: HPE