More than 300 businesses, including more than a dozen Fortune 500 firms, have called on US Congress to rebuild a more resilient, sustainable economy following COVID-19.
Businesses unite for sustainable recovery
Sustainability nonprofit Ceres, who is supporting the group, “LEAD on Climate 2020,” reports:
LEAD on Climate 2020 [made] the case to US House and Senate lawmakers on both sides of the aisle that a climate-smart recovery is needed to build back better from the economic downturn. In virtual meetings with lawmakers, participating companies and investors will urge Congress to protect against future shocks and systemic risks stemming from the ongoing climate crisis.
Specifically, they’ve called for:
- An accelerated transition to a net-zero emissions economy by 2050 or sooner
- More investment in resilient infrastructure
- Effective climate solutions — including those that fully leverage the job opportunities of zero-carbon industries
- Support for longer-term, market-wide policy mechanisms such as a price on carbon
Businesses participating in LEAD on Climate 2020 include General Mills (who committed to source 100% renewable electricity by 2030), Microsoft (who will be carbon negative by 2030), Visa, Unilever, and Nike (whose sustainable Olympics uniforms are pictured; the Olympics are postponed due to the pandemic). The businesses represent combined annual revenues of more than $1 trillion and a shared market valuation of nearly $11.5 trillion. They employee more than 3 million people.
As MarketWatch explains:
The companies and investors calling for climate action as part of economic recovery efforts span across the American economy, including retailers, manufacturers, healthcare services, food and beverage companies, outdoors industries, technology companies, and energy providers.
The high level of participation is notable given the disruption most of the companies and investors are experiencing due to the economic collapse, as well as the current social distancing constraints on in-person advocacy.
In 2020, the US Energy Information Administration predicts that carbon dioxide emissions will decrease by 11% (572 million metric tons) in 2020 as a result of restrictions on business and travel and slowing economic growth related to COVID-19.
However, the EIA forecasts that in 2021, energy-related CO2 emissions will increase by 5% as the economy recovers and stay-at-home orders are lifted — if no action is taken.
Countries all over the world are building sustainable plans into their stimulus packages. Unless the US takes action to do that, it would be a lost opportunity with dire consequences. At least there is a clear move toward renewables in the US, regardless of lack of support at the federal level. The US will produce more electricity this year from renewable power than from coal for the first time.
But how tone-deaf would Congress have to be to not listen to businesses with a shared market valuation of $11.5 trillion asking for the reduction of emissions and preparation for consequences of climate change?
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