BUSINESS LEADERS COMMIT TO PARIS GOALS
KRISTIN KELLEHER, Programs Director
November 21, 2019
Three years ago, 187 nations ratified the Paris Agreement and took a major step to address the climate crisis by seeking to keep temperature rise this century “well below 2 degrees Celsius above pre-industrial levels.”
At the start of November, President Donald Trump formally removed the United States from the Paris Agreement. It is now more important than ever that private sector stakeholders, along with state governments, remain ambitious and committed to climate goals. Action from a variety of stakeholders is needed to meet emissions reductions goals, and transform our economy to become cleaner and more sustainable and mitigate future climate impacts.
Carbon pollution and the climate crisis carry enormous economic risks and burdens, but addressing them can also result in opportunities for innovation and can transform business landscapes for the better. A recent report from the CDP found that companies estimated opportunities related to climate change could bring in $2.1 trillion. This can include the growth of low-emissions products, such as new fuel sources or energy-efficient cars, as well as flood protection initiatives and resilience planning.
If we continue with a business as usual scenario, resulting in an increase of four degrees by 2100, climate change impacts will be “disastrous to businesses’ bottom line.” Droughts, increasing extreme storms, and flooding will impact businesses across sectors–main streets and larger corporations.
Businesses know that global collective action is urgently needed, and that the private sector has a crucial role to play in remaining steadfast on a path towards a low-carbon future. Members of the CABA Business Network, spanning many different industries, are committed to taking steps that address emissions reductions, encourage innovation, and safeguard competitiveness and American leadership on the transition to a clean future for all.
As of 2017, 29% of emissions in the U.S. come from the transportation sector; it is one of the largest sources of emissions that will need to systematically change in the coming decades to meet the emissions reductions goals needed to prevent the worst effects of the climate crisis.
We spoke to Kyle Kornack, Executive Director and Co-Founder of Green Gas Movement about how they work with gas stations and consumers to encourage climate action. “Transportation is the biggest driver of greenhouse gas emissions in the U.S., and many Americans are frustrated by their contributions to climate change. What if we had the option to not contribute to climate change when we buy something? At Green Gas Movement, we’re making that happen by allowing businesses to give their customers the choice to donate to carbon removal projects at checkout to negate the climate impact of purchases.” He added, “as the federal government backpedals on climate, it’s never been more urgent for businesses to step up and give their customers the positive climate impact they demand.”
Beauty and Personal Care Sector
The beauty and personal care industry, valued at $532 billion, continues to rapidly grow along with an increase in pollution and waste from its manufacturing and supply chain.
However, there are an exponential number of companies in this sector that have weaved social and environmental responsibility into their missions and operations. From eco-friendly and recycled packaging, to more sustainably and naturally sourced ingredients, there is vast potential for action and leadership in the sector. One of the brands taking on this very leadership is Badger – a certified B-Corp committed to “doing what’s right for people and [our] planet.”
Co-CEO Emily Schwerin-Whyte, tells us “it is clear that business action is key to ensure the United States remains a leader in emissions reductions in the wake of President Donald Trump’s actions to withdraw the U.S. from the Paris Climate Agreement. Here at Badger, we make healthy products, and environmental responsibility is one of our core principles. From our supply chain to our energy use, to our shipping, we incorporate emissions reductions measures into our strategy. The private sector needs to step up to set an example and create change.”
Clean Energy Sector
U.S. renewable energy has more than doubled since 2008, with more than 17% of our electricity generation coming from renewables, which are now incredibly cost-competitive with fossil fuels. To further grow these industries and reduce our dependence on polluting fuels, businesses interested in clean energy are advocating for legislative initiatives to smooth this transition.
While businesses are leading this change, we cannot undertake the full transition without political action. Business leaders are key economic drivers and subject matter experts across fields, serving as fundamental resources within legislative districts, and carrying significant political influence. EnergySage provides an online platform that allows customers to receive and compare multiple solar quotes from over 500 pre-screened solar installers. They highlight the need for American state and local governments as well as the private sector and consumers to take charge and lead the acceleration to a low-carbon economy.
We spoke with Vikram Aggarwal, EnergySage CEO and Founder, to talk about his views on the U.S. withdrawal of the Paris Agreement, and what that would mean for his business. “Regardless of the Trump administration’s decision to withdraw from the Paris Climate Agreement, American energy companies and their respective state and local governments will continue their transition towards clean energy.
Equally important is that the American consumer will too. Over 10 million people will visit EnergySage this year to learn and shop for solar and for related energy products. We are helping homeowners save money and businesses be more competitive, all while taking one of the most significant and impactful individual actions possible to combat climate change: installing solar.”
Voicing the business perspective at next month’s climate negotiations
Across sectors, businesses now understand that they need to work towards an economy that serves our communities and helps address the climate crisis. We need to strengthen our carbon reduction targets to develop a more sustainable economy, not back-track. Global competitiveness and climate action are concurrent goals, and as a collective voice, businesses can push for an economy where consideration for social and environmental impacts is not an exception, but the norm.
Our Executive Director will represent our network and voice America’s continued commitment to leading on climate at the upcoming UN climate negotiations in Madrid. They will be pivotal in the international climate conversation, and will be the first in which the U.S. has officially withdrawn from Paris. If you want to learn more about our time in Madrid, and continue to follow our climate-conscious network of businesses, you can sign up for our newsletter here, or reach out to firstname.lastname@example.org.