The Corporate Report Card
The topic of large corporations reducing their carbon footprints has been discussed for years, and now our friends in the Fortune 500 world are stepping up to the plate. This past July, more than a dozen corporate leaders took an enormous step to reduce not only their own carbon footprint but also encourage other corporations across the globe to do the same.
The American Business Act on Climate Change Pledge is a partnership between 13 of the largest American corporations and the White House that represents unwavering support for President Obama’s ambitious climate change initiative and the new EPA rules and regulations that will help shape this policy. The pledge is expected to reach $140B in new investments to cut carbon emissions. Included in that total is Bank of America’s commitment of $75B through lending to environmentally focused companies and other types of financing by 2025, and a similar plan of investment and lending from Goldman Sachs, which pledges to use 100% renewable energy by 2020.
While Bank of America and Goldman Sachs are setting the standard for the finance industry, leaders in other sectors of the U.S. economy are doing their part as well to make sure their industries aren’t left behind.
On the industrial front, Alcoa and GM have both shown that they are committed to making a sizable difference. Alcoa, the world’s largest producer of aluminum, has pledged to cut its carbon emissions by 50% by 2025 and demonstrate a net reduction of greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions that is equal to three times the emissions created by the production of their products. General Motors is planning to cut carbon intensity, also known as the emission rate relative to a specific activity, of its facilities by 20% by 2020, reduce water intensity 15% by 2020, and reduce total waste 20% by 2020.
Not to be outdone by big finance and big industrial companies, a few tech and consumer goods juggernauts joined the sustainability party, too. Apple, which is already running its operations on 100% renewable energy and who since 2011 reduced carbon emission its global corporate facilities, data centers, and retail stores by 48%, is aiming to bring an additional 280 megawatts of clean energy online by the end of 2016. Tech giant Google recently purchased 1.1 gigawatts of renewable energy in hopes of powering their data centers. Google has also committed to tripling purchases of renewable energy by 2025, reducing single occupancy vehicle commuting at their Bay Area headquarters to 36% (a 10% reduction from current levels) and also reducing their Bay Area headquarters’ potable water usage by 30% from their 2010 baseline.
The remaining members of the pledge, with a second round to come in the near future, are: Berkshire Hathaway Energy, Cargill, Coca-Cola, Microsoft, PepsiCo, UPS, and Walmart.
With corporate leaders like these setting the pace of sustainability and energy efficiency for the rest of the country, the ambitious climate change initiative goals seem within reach.
See how property management and multifamily real estate companies are doing their part to help meet these goals in our suite of case studies, and tell us what your organization is doing to conserve.