Climate change poses an unprecedented threat to companies’ operations, value chains, employees and communities. The economic costs of climate change — including damage to facilities, disrupted operations and supply chains and lost productivity — are already in the hundreds of millions of dollars, and expected to reach trillions. While voluntary actions to reduce emissions are important, only public policy can deliver reductions at the speed and scale needed to limit the worst impacts of climate change, making climate policy advocacy an essential element of corporate sustainability leadership. 

The current political landscape in the United States provides an immediate window to act and restore the nation’s standing as a global leader on climate, spur economic recovery and create new jobs in an equitable, just and inclusive manner. Business leadership is vital to meet this moment. Now is the time for companies to adopt a science-based advocacy agenda and push for federal, state and local policies that accelerate climate action in the United States. 

At WRI, we’re seeing a growing commitment among corporations looking to play their part in achieving this goal, including more than 1,200 companies that have set ambitious science-based targets. Many are also making pledges that will be assessed and based on the Science Based Targets initiative’s forthcoming global standard for corporate net-zero targets.  

Companies must go further to better align their policy work and lobbying efforts with these goals, including through their trade associations. 

WRI, along with 11 environmental and sustainability organizations, call on companies to:  

  1. Publicly support an ambitious nationally determined contribution (NDC) for the United States under the Paris Agreement. 
  2. Advocate for legislation and regulations to cut climate pollution on a path to net zero by 2050. 
  3. Align trade associations’ lobbying with a path to net zero by 2050, and act promptly to address any misalignment, including withholding dues if necessary. 
  4. Allocate spending on lobbying and other channels of political influence in ways that advance a path to net zero. 
  5. Use every opportunity — in the media, before Congress and with peers — to publicly support policies that put the United States on a path to net zero. 

Through cutting-edge research and engagement with the public and private sectors, WRI equips businesses with the tools that they need to lead on climate policy and meet this call at the federal, state and local levels.