Sony, Microsoft, Adidas back new UN emission offset initiative
The UN has launched a major new initiative designed to get businesses and consumers to voluntarily become 'climate neutral'.
The Climate Neutral Now scheme encourages individuals, companies and governments to measure their climate footprint, reduce emissions where possible, and offset the remainder through a UN-certified website.
Several high-profile businesses have pledged their support for the scheme, including Microsoft, Sony, Adidas and Marks & Spencer’s.
Microsoft’s chief environmental strategist Rob Bernard said: “Microsoft believes that companies – and particularly information technology companies - have an important role to play in reducing carbon emissions.
“In 2012, this belief led our company to set an ambitious goal to be 100 percent carbon neutral. We have accomplished this by boosting efficiencies, investing in renewable energy and funding a carbon offset program.
“We are supporting Climate Neutral Now because we believe in the power of accountability and have witnessed the transformative nature of carbon offset projects and sustainable community development, particularly in emerging nations.”
The initiative includes a new online platform that allows users to choose from a range of UN-verified offsetting schemes The UN says all of the projects contribute to sustainable development in the developing world as well as reducing global emissions.
Christiana Figueres, the executive secretary of the UN Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC) said: “The new universal agreement to be inked in Paris this December at COP21 needs to be a springboard to the future. It is going to require action today and tomorrow and everyone needs to get on board - from governments and corporations to cities, regions and individuals”.
“I've already pledged to personally become Climate Neutral Now and invite you to join me in measuring, reducing and offsetting your emissions.
"Over time the need for offsets is going to decline as energy systems become ever more low carbon, healthy ecosystems like forests expand and we arrive at a climate neutral world in the second half of the century. Climate change will affect everyone, yet everyone can effect positive change starting today and beginning now,” she added.
The scheme, launched at Climate Week in New York this week, is also supported by several high-profile celebrities, including actor Edward Norton and designer Vivenne Westwood
Ed Norton explained: "We all need to take personal responsibility to combat the threat of climate change. Join me in the Climate Neutral Now initiative to reduce the impact of climate change and offset carbon emissions. Help protect the ecosystems that sustain biodiversity and save the livelihoods of billions of people around the world."
Already this week, Climate Week NYC has seen a flurry of companies committing to 100% renewable energy, and state and regional Governments pledging to cut emissions by 7.9 gigatonnes.