Business giants including Best Buy and Siemens join Amazon's climate pledge, target net-zero by 2040

Corporate giants Best Buy, Siemens, Schneider Electric and McKinstry, along with Spanish football club Real Betis, have joined Amazon's Climate Pledge and vowed to reach net-zero carbon by 2040.

The announcement was made at Climate Week NYC

The announcement was made at Climate Week NYC

Amazon’s ‘Climate Pledge’ was launched in September 2019, after the e-commerce giant faced mounting pressure from consumers, investors and its own staff to firm up its environmental ambitions and actions in line with its scale. It worked with non-profit Global Optimism, the brainchild of former UN climate secretary Christiana Figures, to develop the pledge, which is headlined by a 2040 net-zero target, and to open it up to additional businesses.

Since the Pledge was opened to other businesses, the likes of Mercedes-Benz, Reckitt Benckiser, Verizon and Infosys signed up.

This week saw Siemens, US-based retailer Best Buy, energy and automation giant Schneider electric, engineering and construction firm McKinstry and Seville-based professional football team Real Betis join that cohort.

To ensure that signatories to the Pledge are not overly reliant on carbon offsetting, the framework commits signatories to develop Paris-aligned emissions reduction strategies centred around energy efficiency, renewable energy and creating a closed-loop for materials. Schneider Electric and Best Buy have notably already had their emissions targets approved by the Science Based Targets initiative (SBTi) while McKinstry has a 2030 net-zero target.

Signatories must also measure and publicly report on greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions from all parts of the business on a regular basis.

Amazon’s founder and chief executive Jeff Bezos said that, by signing up to the Climate Pledge, the new signatories are “showing important leadership in accelerating the transition to a low carbon economy to protect the planet for future generations”.

Figueres added that the expanded pledge “sets a pathway to significant actions and investments that will create jobs, spur innovation, regenerate the natural environment and help consumers to buy better starting now.”

Change of heart?

In September 2015, Siemens committed to becoming a carbon-neutral company by 2030.

But the firm faced criticism and controversy throughout 2019 and into 2020, due to its involvement with commodity trading business Adani – the architect of a major new coalmine in Australia’s Galilee Basin. The Fridays for Future (FFF) climate movement argued that if all contracts relating to the projects were signed, including Siemens’ agreement to provide rail infrastructure, the world would exceed the Paris Agreement’s 1.5C target.

FFF’s lead for Germany, Luisa Neubauer, was invited by Siemens to sit on its new supervisory board for climate earlier this year – but declined.

Since then, it has begun tying executive-level pay to progress against key sustainability targets, including its 2030 GHG goal, at the advice of the board. However, its involvement in Adani seems to be ongoing, despite many other major corporates, including Samsung, withdrawing.

Sarah George



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