Across the world, responsible businesses are acknowledging climate change and their crucial role in addressing it. Many companies are developing long-term climate action plans, outlining ways they will reduce their corporate emissions over time – with some aspiring to reach “net zero” emissions by sometime mid-century.
Although these are important, admirable, and necessary first steps, they are missing an opportunity to lead and do more. Today’s climate plans mainly focus on how companies can do less harm, gradually reducing their emissions and the damages they cause. Most do not consider how businesses can go beyond this and help the broader world transition to a sustainable, climate-safe future.
With too many governments struggling to lead on climate action, this is the moment for businesses to step up, take bold, pioneering positions, and help the rest of the world – not just themselves – address the climate challenge.
Businesses will need to dramatically reduce their own emissions and develop outward-looking climate plans that help other organizations, communities, and governments address climate change. This will enable them to go far beyond being “climate neutral” and “Paris compliant” companies, and achieve much larger impacts in the global effort to stop climate change.
Such efforts include:
- Working with governments, non-profits, community partners, customers, and employees to help implement much larger climate solutions – doing far more to address climate change than reducing their corporate emissions alone.
- Developing new tools, technologies, and resources to address climate change, hastening the pace of global action.
- Pooling resources and investing heavily in climate solutions – to help them scale up and get cheaper – accelerating their deployment across the world.
- Encouraging bolder climate action among their peers, advancing critical enterprise- and sector-wide climate solutions.
- Using their positions of leadership and economic clout to advocate for better climate policies and bolder climate action by governments around the world.
Fortunately, a handful of companies are looking to do this, helping to lead a global revolution in climate solutions. As one early example, Intuit’s new “50 by 30 Plan” has committed to phase out their remaining greenhouse gas emissions starting in 2020, and help the broader world reduce emissions by 50x this amount, within ten years. Other companies are making plans to launch similarly ambitious initiatives soon.