Environmental groups call on Corporate America to change governance to address climate change

Eleven environmental and sustainable business organizations published an open letter in the New York Times on Tuesday, urging U.S companiest to step up their engagement on climate policy. Signatories include the heads of BSR, C2ES, CDP, Ceres, Conservation International, Environmental Defense Fund, The Climate Group, The Nature Conservancy, the Union of Concerned Scientists, World Resources Institute, and World Wildlife Fund.

In the letter, the organizations call on businesses to adopt a scientific climate policy that followsa the recommendations of the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change, and with the goal of achieving net-zero emissions by 2050.

Some highlights. Companies and their CEOs should:

  • Advocate for policies at the national, subnational and/or sectoral level that are consistent with achieving net-zero emissions by 2050;
  • Align their trade associations’ climate policy advocacy to be consistent with the goal of net-zero emissions by 2050; and
  • Allocate advocacy spending to advance climate policies, not obstruct them.

The signatories should call for “robust disclosure of the above actions to ensure transparency and demonstrate leadership, as well as strong corporate governance to enable sustained, strategic and effective engagement in climate policy.”

The recommended actions follow a statement from 200 institutional investors, with a combined $6.5 trillion in assets under management, who recently called on publicly traded corporations to align their climate lobbying with the goals of the Paris Agreement. They also build on momentum from the U.N. Global Climate Action Summit in September, when many companies announced ambitious commitments to reduce their emissions to net zero by 2050

Environmental groups call on Corporate America to change governance to address climate change

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