WASHINGTON, Oct. 19 (UPI) — The chief executive officers of dozens of major U.S. companies have promised to increase efforts to combat climate change ahead of a roundtable discussion Monday with the president.
So far, 81 companies have signed the White House’s American Business Act on Climate Pledge, an initiative in which companies promise to reduce or eliminate carbon emissions. The Obama administration hopes more companies will sign on before the United Nations Climate Change conference begins in late November in Paris.
“These 81 companies have operations in all 50 states, employ over 9 million people, represent more than $3 trillion in annual revenue, and have a combined market capitalization of over $5 trillion,” the White House said in a statement.
Brian Deese, senior White House adviser, said the efforts by companies joining the initiative will hopefully encourage more companies to make pledges to reduce carbon emissions.
“The president this morning will have an opportunity to sit down with a number of CEOs who are today singing on” to tackle climate change, Deese told reporters Monday morning.
He said the initiative hopes to encourage companies down the supply chain from major companies to participate in efforts, generating a greater response.
Deese said companies will hold themselves accountable to pledges and offer greater transparency about their operations to determine if they are on track with promises.
Pledges by companies include reducing emissions by up to 50 percent, reducing water use by 80 percent and moving toward 100 percent use of renewable energy. Companies who have signed up and made their own specific pledges include Walmart, Nike, Ikea, IBM and McDonald’s.
“At the end of the day we need to demonstrate that we can act on the climate threats that we face,” Deese said. “These commitments show that international action on climate is not only good for our climate but are also good for the bottom line.”
During a press conference call Monday, Todd Brady, global environmental director at Intel, praised the Obama administration’s leadership in taking action toward combating climate change, adding that government action on the issue increased confidence for businesses to follow suit.
“As Intel, we believe that global climate change is a serious challenge that needs an equal response,” Brady said. “We’re proud to stand with the Obama administration and we look forward to further dialogue on climate change.”
Obama is scheduled to meet with CEOs to discuss the initiative Monday afternoon.