STATEMENT: Sustainability Leaders Urge U.S. Business CEOs to Lead on Climate Policy
WASHINGTON (March 1, 2021) — In a public letter released today, CEOs from 12 environmental and sustainability organizations called on businesses across the United States to adopt a science-based climate policy agenda.
Following is a statement by Andrew Steer, President & CEO, World Resources Institute:
“To tackle the climate crisis and recharge the economy, corporate leaders should do their part by encouraging a whole-of-society approach. I am proud to join with peers at major environmental and sustainability organizations to urge businesses to encourage the U.S. government to set a high bar when it comes to climate action. After four years of foot dragging, the new U.S. administration is poised to set a strong emissions target that is aligned with the science. We know that the U.S. can cut its emissions by 50% below 2005 levels by 2030 — and the U.S. government should aim for at least that degree of ambition.
“We’re encouraged by a growing commitment among corporations to reduce their emissions, including more than 1,200 companies that have taken action to 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 now must go further to better align their lobbying efforts with these goals, including through their trade associations.
“A zero-carbon transition presents a great opportunity for U.S. businesses and the economy. Investments in wind and solar energy generation can provide double the number of jobs as fossil fuel production. Reducing emissions is also essential to improve efficiency and reduce the economic risks of climate change. Corporate leaders can play a critical role to ensure the U.S. government takes strong climate action at the federal and state level, which will in turn power economic growth and enhance resilience across the United States.”
The CEO to CEO Letter was signed by leaders of the following organizations: BSR, C2ES, CDP, Ceres, Climate Group North America, Conservation International, Environmental Defense Fund, The Nature Conservancy, Union of Concerned Scientists, We Mean Business, World Resources Institute, and World Wildlife Fund.
The letter urges companies to take the following approach to climate action:
- Publicly support an ambitious 2030 goal (Nationally Determined Contribution) for the United States under the Paris Agreement.
- Advocate for legislation and regulations to cut climate pollution on a path to net zero by 2050.
- Align your trade associations’ lobbying with a path to net zero by 2050, and act promptly to address any misalignment, including withholding dues if necessary.
- Allocate your spending on lobbying and other channels of political influence in ways that advance, and do not obstruct, a path to net zero by 2050.
- Use every opportunity — in the media, before Congress, and with your peers — to publicly support policies that put the United States on a path to net zero by 2050.
Read additional background on the Advocate, Align, Allocate approach:
- The AAA Leadership Framework
- Despite Shared Membership, US Chamber of Commerce and Business Roundtable at Odds Over Climate Policy
- Attention Businesses: Don't Let Your Trade Associations Undermine You on Climate Action
- With New Business Roundtable Statement, Are 200 CEOs Stuck in Yesterday’s Corporate Sustainability?
- Who Is Speaking on Climate Policy for Your Company?
The organizations placed an ad on the Wall Street Journal’s homepage. View the ad here.
- Communications Associate, WRI's Center for Sustainable Business