13 big businesses including Unilever and Microsoft join Amazon’s Climate Pledge

Many of the new signatories already have targets to reach - or go beyond - net-zero

The new signatories said in a statement that they timed their joining to coincide with the fifth anniversary of the Paris Agreement. They are Atos, Brooks, Canary Wharf Group, Coca-Cola European Partners (CCEP), ERM, Groupe SEB France, Harbour Air, ITV, Microsoft, Neste, Rubicon, Unilever and Vaude.

Amazon co-created the Climate Pledge with Global Optimism in 2019, following mounting pressure from consumers, investors and its own staff to firm up its environmental ambitions and actions in line with its scale.

The Pledge is headlined by a requirement for signatories to reach net-zero emissions across all scopes by 2040 at the latest. To ensure that signatories are not over-reliant on offsetting, there is also a requirement for businesses to prioritise energy efficiency, renewable energy and creating a closed-loop for materials. 

Many of the new signatories already have net-zero targets for 2040 or sooner. Microsoft, for example, is targeting carbon negativity by 2030, while Unilever set a 2039 net-zero target this summer. ITV and Canary Wharf Group are both targeting net-zero by 2030 under roadmaps released this year.

As such, the value of joining the Climate Pledge is likely to do with communications and collaborations rather than developing more ambitious climate targets in-house. Signatories are encouraged to collaborate on key focus areas relating to clean energy, energy efficiency and the circular economy.

Aside from the new joiners, the initiative has garnered the support of Uber, JetBlueHenkel, Mercedes-BenzReckitt Benckiser, Verizon and Infosys, along with Best Buy and Siemens.

“Tackling climate change is one of the greatest challenges we will face in our lifetime; the effects of climate change are already here and the time to act is now,” ITV’s chief executive Carolyn McCall said.

“The scale of change needed demands that all of us, businesses, governments and citizens work collaboratively and act boldly. Reaching over 50 million people every month, we believe that ITV has a critical role to play; not only in reducing our own emissions but in shifting culture and creating the new normal.”

On McCall’s latter point, the broadcaster is currently airing a series of spoof adverts entitled ‘The Shows We Never Want to Make’, with titles including Catastrophe Street and This Warming. The series emphasises the ways in which the natural world could change in the coming decades and encourages viewers to reduce their carbon footprint using WWF’s calculator.

Sarah George

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