The devastating effects of climate change are undeniable. The United Nations panel on climate change warned the world of irreversible climate impact as early as 2030. Here are 16 companies, multinationals, and startups that are taking actions to mitigate climate change.
- What are other examples of how companies can take climate action?
- What can political leaders learn from business leaders about climate action?
CEO Jeff Bezos committed Amazon to meet the goals of the Paris Climate Agreement 10 years ahead of schedule. In what he calls the “Climate Pledge,” he also promised to measure and report the company’s emissions regularly, implement decarbonization strategies and alter its business strategies to offset remaining emissions. Amazon will work with companies in its supply chain to help them decarbonize and reach the same goals outlined in the plan. The plan calls for other companies to join Amazon in pledging to have net-zero carbon emissions by 2040. As part of the announcement, Amazon has agreed to purchase 100,000 electric delivery vans from vehicle manufacturer Rivian.
In April 2018, Apple achieved 100% renewable electricity powering its global facilities across 43 countries. Apple is also helping its manufacturing partners lower their carbon footprint, working with them to install more than 4 gigawatts of new clean energy worldwide by 2020. All of Apple’s offices, retail locations, and data centers run on 100% renewable energy. They’ve eliminated harmful chemicals like mercury, brominated flame retardants, PVC, phthalates, and beryllium from our products. More than 1 million acres of forest in China is now under improved management due to Apple’s efforts.
Bank of America:
Bank of America aims to meet their environmental operations goals by 2020, which includes becoming carbon-neutral and purchasing 100% renewable electricity. These goals support their continued efforts to reduce the overall environmental impacts of their operations. They will work to reduce location-based greenhouse gas emissions by 50%, energy use by 40% and water use by 45% in our operations across the globe from 2010 to 2020. The company is a member of RE100 and EV100, and we were one of the first financial institutions to join the U.S. Department of Energy’s Workplace Charging Challenge.
The company asks the question: who says meat has to come from animals? Meat is made up of five building blocks: protein, fat, trace minerals, carbohydrates, and water. Beyond Meatfinds these same building blocks in the plant kingdom to rebuild meat from the ground up without sacrificing on taste or texture. Building meat without the animal requires fewer resources, making it a much more efficient and sustainable process. By shifting from animal to plant-based meat, the company is creating a savory solution that solves four growing issues attributed to livestock production: human health, climate change, constraints on natural resources and animal welfare. A study by the Environmental Working Group (EWG) found that red meat production releases 10 to 40 times as many greenhouse gas emissions as common vegetables and grains.
The INGKA Group (formerly IKEA) has committed to producing as much renewable energy as the total energy it consumes in its buildings by 2020. IKEA wants to reduce carbon dioxide emissions from all aspects of its operations. They work actively to reduce carbon dioxide (CO2) emissions from the entire value chain, from raw material extraction to products’ end-of-life. The company has invested close to 2.5 billion euro in onsite and offsite wind and solar power as part of its ambition to become climate positive by 2030. Recent investments will enable the company to generate more renewable energy than it consumes across its operations in 30 countries, exceeding the 2020 target.
eBay is a multinational e-trading company that connects millions of buyers and sellers around the world – aiming to create a more sustainable form of commerce. eBay has committed to 100% renewable energy in its electricity supply by 2025 at its data centers and offices. eBay announced on September 19, 2019 that their two San Jose campuses—which includes eBay’s global headquarters—will be powered entirely by carbon-free solar, wind and geothermal energy by the end of September thanks to a new partnership with San Jose Clean Energy and its TotalGreen service.
The French cosmetics company has committed to “zero deforestation” by 2020, and already sources 100% of its palm oil derivatives via Roundtable on Sustainable Palm Oil certification and helped develop Sustainable Palm Oil and Traceability (SPOT), a tool for evaluating the environmental and social performance of the company’s products. The company also leverages the Global Forest Watch Tool to track deforestation risks down its supply chain — L’Oréal can trace back 91% of raw materials to the refinery level and 74% of raw materials to the palm oil-mills level. L’Oréal supports 500 small farmers in Sabah, Malaysia, as a source for certified sustainable palm oil. They’re now working in Indonesia to gain access to an additional 30% of the palm oil derivatives they use.
The company set a target of reducing per-production-tonne CO2 emissions by 40% of 2008 levels by 2020, and it’s already reduced emissions by 43%. Unilever also endeavors to engage its customers in protecting the environment, with new products that, for example, reduce water or energy use. Unilever’s complex supply chain depends on agricultural raw materials, and is therefore especially vulnerable to the effects of climate change, so its environmental efforts are in part motivated by a desire to future-proof its materials supply.
U.S. insulation, roofing, and fiberglass composites company Owens-Corning set itself a target to reduce greenhouse gas intensity by 20% in 2020. To meet it, the company had to invent new blowing agent blends for use in manufacturing, resulting in fewer emissions intensity and more sustainable insulation products. They hit their 20% target six years early. The company has now upped that target to 50%. Owens-Corning has also implanted sweeping operational changes and is developing a residential builders’ guide for building net-zero homes.
The company’s website has a real-time estimate of the total CO2 saved by Tesla vehicles reflecting tailpipe emissions reductions from historical cumulative miles driven by the global Tesla vehicle fleet.
The LEGO Group is one of the world’s leading manufacturers of creative play materials and wants to make a positive impact on the planet and the children who will inherit it. Since 2012 the LEGO Group has invested approximately USD 890 million in offshore wind power. In May 2017 the company joined RE100 and achieved its ambition to balance 100% of its energy use with energy from renewable sources.
Disney has set itself an impressive goal: It intends to half its emissions by 2020. To reduce the emissions produced by a corporation worth $171.7 billion is a significant accomplishment. As an initial step towards this goal, Disney recently opened a 270-acre, 50-megawatt solar facility in Florida. Disney expects that this plant will produce enough energy to operate two of its four theme parks in central Florida and cut its greenhouse gas emissions by 57,000 tons per year. As an industry leader, their solar plant is likely a harbinger of more facilities across the United States — and the world, for that matter.
Royal Dutch Shell:
By 2035, Shell plans to cut its carbon footprint 25%, and 50% by 2050–including the emissions not only from its operations but from customers using its products. The cuts are in line with the company’s “Sky scenario,” a vision released in 2018 that considers what it might take for the world to meet the first goal of the Paris climate agreement, to keep global warming well below 2 degrees Celsius. The company has invested in companies including GI Energy, which designs solar microgrids and other sustainable energy solutions, Sonnen, which makes home batteries to store solar power and creates “virtual power plants” for neighborhoods,” Solar Now, which provides off-grid solar in Uganda and Kenya, and others.
ChargePoint operates the world’s leading and most open EV charging network and builds all the technology that supports it. As their network grows, it becomes easier for more people to choose EVs. This growing global network that’s simple to use and manage helps drivers and customers eliminate tons of harmful GHG emissions. Transportation is a major source of greenhouse gas emissions worldwide. Reducing greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions from transportation is key to slowing climate change and making sure our planet stays a healthy place to live. Electric vehicles (EVs) fight climate change by powering transportation with electricity, not fossil fuels. Driving an EV can cut fossil fuel emissions in half, or get rid of them entirely when renewable energy sources are used.
This young fashion startup uses recycled water bottles to make its stylish Renew line. Committed to having no new plastics in their supply chain by 2021, Everlane is focused on replacing all synthetic fabrics with renewed materials, replacing all virgin plastic poly bags with renewed versions, and eliminating all single-use plastics in their offices.
The first tech unicorn in the garbage industry, dubbed “Uber for Trash” and backed by Marc Benioff, Rubicon is taking on industry behemoth Waste Management by providing businesses with an affordable on-demand trash-hauling service. Its model incentivizes businesses to reduce waste management costs and divert trash out of landfills.