Where government fails, business can lead. That axiom has never been truer than it is now under President Trump.
Trump announced on June 1, 2017, that the U.S. would withdraw from the Paris climate treaty. Businesses began signing the We Are Still In declaration in June 2017, along with mayors and governors. The coalition now has over 2,700 representatives from businesses and governments in all 50 states, representing $6.2 trillion. That includes 1,800 companies and investors.
“We went from a meme to a movement,” said Anne Kelly, senior director of policy and the BICEP Network at Ceres, one of the co-founders of the We Are Still In coalition, in a statement. “It is less about raising a fist to the current administration and more about raising a hand to show the nation and the rest of the world that they are ‘Still In’ and will do their part to ensure the U.S. remains a global leader on climate change.”
Apple and Microsoft still honor the Paris climate treaty by investing in renewable energy
The companies that are a part of the We Are Still In coalition include electronic giants Apple and Microsoft. Apple announced in April that its global facilities are powered with 100 percent renewable energy, which includes its retail stores, data centers, offices, and co-located facilities in 43 countries. Apple has 25 renewable energy projects operating around the globe, with a total of 626 megawatts of generation capacity. There are 15 additional projects being constructed, and once they are built, Apple will have 1.4 gigawatts of renewable energy generation in 11 countries.
Apple Park is Apple’s new headquarters in Cupertino, California. It is the largest LEED Platinum-certified office building in North America, and it is powered by 100 percent renewable energy. The power sources include a 17-megawatt onsite rooftop solar array and four megawatts of biogas fuel cells that are controlled by a microgrid with battery storage. During times of low occupancy, it gives energy back to the public grid.
Microsoft announced a new pledge in November 2017 to reduce its operational carbon emissions by 75 percent by 2030, against a 2013 baseline. The company plans to achieve the goal by continuing progress with its carbon neutrality and renewable energy commitments. It has already reduced energy use at its corporate campus in Washington state by more than 20 percent. It is one of the largest green buyers of energy in the U.S. and has purchased more than 21 billion kilowatt-hours of green power globally.
Mars Incorporated and McDonald’s are two food companies with emissions reduction goals
Food companies are part of the We Are Still In coalition, including Mars Incorporated and McDonald’s. Mars has set a goal to eliminate 100 percent of its greenhouse gas emissions from its direct operations by 2040. The company has already met its 2015 goal of a 25 percent reduction. Its 2020 goal is to reduce GHG emissions by 20 percent. To meet its goals, Mars is investing in energy efficiency and renewable energy projects. It is already either using or buying renewable energy electricity to cover 100 percent of its operations in Belgium, Brazil, Lithuania, the United Kingdom and the U.S. It will add Austria, the Czech Republic, France, Spain, Poland and Mexico to that list in 2018.
McDonald’s, the company with the golden arches are known all over the world, has set a goal to reduce its GHG emissions related to its restaurants and offices by 36 percent by 2030 from a 2015 baseline. The company has also set a goal to reduce its emissions intensity by 31 percent per metric ton of food and packaging across its supply chain by 2030 from 2015 levels.
Companies taking climate action prove business can lead the way
What Apple, Microsoft, Mars and McDonald’s prove is that business is leading climate action in the U.S. despite the Trump administration’s inaction. Cities, states, and tribal governments are also taking action. As an open letter by the We Are Still In coalition stated last year, “Actions by each group will multiply and accelerate in the years ahead, no matter what policies Washington may adopt.”
In other words, reduction of GHG emissions will continue in the U.S. no matter who is in office in the White House.
Image courtesy PxHere