Companies sign onto climate plan

Cargill and Walmart included in companies pledging to combat climate change.

At the White House Monday, Secretary of State John Kerry and senior White House officials hosted 13 of the largest companies from across the American economy who are standing with the Obama Administration to launch the American Business Act on Climate Pledge: Alcoa, Apple, Bank of America, Berkshire Hathaway Energy, Cargill, Coca-Cola, General Motors, Goldman Sachs, Google, Microsoft, PepsiCo, UPS, and Walmart.

In a fact sheet from the White House, the White House explained impacts of climate change have brought deeper, more persistent droughts, more severe weather, bigger storm surges and more frequent and dangerous wildfires. The President’s Climate Action Plan, when fully implemented, will cut nearly 6 billion tons of carbon pollution through 2030, an amount equivalent to taking all the cars in the United States off the road for more than 4 years.

The measures taken by the public and private sectors enabled President Obama to his goal of reducing greenhouse gas emissions economy-wide by 26-28% by 2025 last November—and to do so alongside Chinese President Xi Jinping, who committed for the first time that China would peak their emissions by around 2030.

As the world looks toward global climate negotiations in Paris this December, the companies have taken individual pledges to move toward a low-carbon, sustainable future.

Cargill for example established comprehensive goals around climate, energy and water 10 years ago. Over that time they have improved energy efficiency by 16%, carbon intensity by 9% and freshwater efficiency by 12% since setting energy goals in 2000 and climate and water goals in 2005.

Now Cargill turns its attention to new goals through 2020 and from its 2015 baseline, Cargill pledges over the next five years to improve greenhouse gas intensity by 5%, freshwater efficiency by 5%, energy efficiency by 5% and increase renewable energy to 18% of its total energy use, up from 14%.

Cargill also continues to work with customers and civil society to build sustainable supply chains that address climate concerns. It also partners with farmers and ranchers to help agriculture adapt to a changing climate.

For instance, Cargill is building a traceable and transparent palm oil supply chain firmly committed to no deforestation of high conservation value (HCV) lands or high carbon stock (HCS) area; no development on peat, and no exploitation of rights of indigenous peoples and local communities.

Cargill has played a critical role in stemming the spread of deforestation in the Amazon by working with industry and non-governmental organization partners to develop and implement the Brazilian Soy Moratorium, a voluntary zero-deforestation agreement that contributed to a dramatic drop in deforestation in the region.

Cargill is also a founding member of the Global Roundtable for Sustainable Beef (GRSB) and the U.S. Roundtable for Sustainable Beef (USRSB). Cargill said it is committed to conserving, reducing and more efficiently managing resources, and mitigating greenhouse gas emissions.

PepsiCo’s Sustainable Farming Initiative plans to expand the use of sustainable farming practices to 500,000 acres in its corn, oats, potato and citrus supply chains by the end of 2016. Walmart among other practices plans to establish joint agricultural partnerships with 17 suppliers, cooperatives and service providers on 23 million acres of land in the U.S. and Canada, with the potential to reduce 11 million metric tons of GHG by 2020 and achieve zero net deforestation in product sourcing by 2020 as part of The Consumer Goods Forum.

Google for instance also pledged to power its operations with 100% renewable energy and plans to directly invest in renewable energy projects.

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