More than 100 companies, including global heavyweights Coca Cola and Dell, have committed to setting standards for reducing their carbon emissions to fight off potentially devastating climate change.
The announcement was made during the recent United Nations climate conference in Paris, the COP21, where world leaders gathered to reach a deal on lowering greenhouse gas emissions. Of the 114 pledging companies, nearly a quarter are based in the United States, with the United Kingdom, France and Canada all have strong representation.
The U.S.-based World Resources Institute, working with the U.N. Global Compact, said the companies have committed to setting targets that scientists say are necessary to preventing the global average temperature from rising more than 2 degrees Celsius, or 3.6 degrees Fahrenheit. That’s the threshold for what is considered catastrophic climate change.
So far, of the participating companies, 10 have had their plans approved, including Coca Cola Enterprises (the European bottling partner of Coca-Cola Co.), Dell, Sony, General Mills, Kellogg and Procter & Gamble. Combined, these companies are expected to reduce their carbon emissions by about 800 million metric tons over the lifetime of their target, which is the equivalent of nearly 2 billion barrels of oil not burned.
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Kellogg, a global food manufacturing company, pledged to reduce the emissions of every metric ton of food produced by 15% by 2020. By 2050, it plans to lower emissions from its own operations by 65% and across its value chain, including suppliers, by 50%.
Computer technology company Dell similarly vowed to cut emissions from their facilities and logistics operations by 50% by 2020 based on its 2011 levels.
Retailers such as IKEA said it is eager to build upon its proven initiatives to tackle climate change using the science-based targets. Even, Wal-Mart, the world’s largest retailer, said climate change poses an urgent, pressing challenge that the business sector must address.
The companies’ participation demonstrates the strong, corporate support for combating climate change and sets an example for other businesses.