Businesses and local governments make major climate commitments


Both the private and public sectors are bringing a low carbon society closer this Climate Week as they make historic commitments to cut emissions and boost renewable energy. In the private sector, leading companies have joined a business pledge to use 100 per cent renewable electricity. Goldman Sachs, Johnson & Johnson, Nike, Procter & Gamble, Walmart, Voya Financial and Salesforce have made the commitment as part of the ‘RE100’ campaign, joining thirty other major businesses which are already on board. On the public side, sub-national governments spanning the Americas, Europe and Australia and representing over 10 per cent of GDP have announced collective emissions cuts of 7.9 gigatonnes by 2030 – more than US emissions in 2012 as part of the Compact of States and Regions. As the Paris climate summit approaches, these pledges show policymakers that both private and public sectors want, and are willing to help bring about, a renewable energy based green economy.



Key Points

  • Reducing carbon emissions and boosting renewables is good for public and private sectors, companies and citizens alike. New analysis shows 100 per cent renewables by 2050 is achievable for all,  while other new figures reveal renewable energy has consistently outperformed the International Energy Agency’s forecasts. Reaching 100 per cent renewables would provide energy for everyone, everywhere, bring global net economic benefits through savings on fuel imports alone, and create millions of jobs. Not to mention avoiding the health and extreme weather impacts of fossil fuels, saving the US$10m per minute that currently go to prop them up.
  • Those still banking on fossil fuels have their backs to the future. Ignoring the benefits of renewables and counting on emissions-heavy coal, oil and gas is not only bad for the planet, public health, private investors’ assets and companies’ bottom lines, campaigners now argue it violates human rights too. If those last big polluters continue to refuse to change their ways, and governments continue to support them, they may find they have to face the legal consequences of their actions.


During Climate Week NYC, major climate pledges have been made by both private and public sectors.

On the business side, Goldman Sachs, Johnson & Johnson, Nike, Procter & Gamble and Walmart  pledged to source 100 per cent of their electricity from renewable energy, to reduce CO2 emissions and seize the business benefits of going low carbon.

The Dow Jones listed companies have joined the RE100 campaign, an ambitious global campaign led by The Climate Group in partnership with CDP, to engage, support and showcase influential businesses committed to 100 per cent renewable electricity.

The private sector accounts for more than half of the world’s electricity consumption. By massively increasing business demand for renewable power, RE100 aims to accelerate the transformation of the global energy market, enabling the transition to a prosperous low-carbon future.

Also joining RE100 are New York-based leading retirement products and services provider Voya Financial, and Californian cloud computing company Salesforce.

Also this week, several companies associated with business leaders group The B Team announced their aim to achieve zero carbon emissions by 2050. They include Chinese construction company Broad Group, African telecommunications group Econet, Brazil cosmetics manufacturer Natura, the consumer goods company, Unilever and international investment group Virgin.

The B Team companies Econet, Kering, Natura and Unilever have also shown their support for net zero carbon emissions through specific climate commitments as part of the We Mean Business campaign for climate action. These commitments represent some of the most important practical steps to get to net zero emissions and over 179 companies have already made over 333 commitments as part of the campaign

On the public side, the leaders of sub-national governments spanning North and South America, Europe and Australia have announced collective climate targets greater than the US’s carbon emissions in 2012.

The data comes from the Compact of States and Regions, a UN supported initiative that aims to drive major emissions reductions after the UN climate summit in December, where governments are expected to agree a new global climate agreement to come into force in 2020. The ambitious target-setting by some of the world’s largest regional economies is expected to put pressure on global leaders at the talks.

The governments which have so far signed up to the Compact represent over 10 per cent of GDP – or US$8.3 trillion – and 220 million people. The plans – which will be achieved through a combination of renewable energy and energy efficiency programmes – will;

  •      Cut emissions by 2 GtCO2e by 2020— more than the combined annual emissions of Brazil and Germany (1.9 GtCO2e source)
  •      Cut emissions by 7.9 GtCO2e by 2030—which is greater than US emissions in 2012; the US being the world’s second-largest emitter (6.2 GtCO2e source)

These calculations are based on the climate data reported by 20 sub-national governments to Compact of States and Regions from March to May 2015: British Columbia, California, Ontario, Oregon, Quebec, New York and Washington in North America; Jalisco, Rio de Janeiro and Sao Paulo in Central and South America; Basque Country, Catalonia, Baden-Württemberg, Bavaria, Lombardy, Rhone-Alpes, Scotland and Wales in Europe; and Australian Capital Territory and South Australia in Australia.

All reporting governments have a series of emission reduction targets in place – some as ambitious as 90 per cent by 2050 and 100 per cent by 2060. 90 per cent have also reported renewable energy targets.

In total, 85 GHG reduction, energy efficiency and renewable targets have been reported – the total amount of climate recorded actions exceeded 200.

The number of governments reporting to the Compact of States and regions is now over 40. The Compact now spans 18 different countries and 6 continents. It provides a clear picture of the overall climate contribution being made state and regional governments worldwide, and creates incentives for additional governments to set targets and measure emissions.





Tools and Resources


  • As the world’s largest and most broadly-based health care company, our mission is to help people live longer, healthier and happier lives. We understand the intrinsic link between a healthy environment and human health. Each day, we work to continuously improve our energy efficiency, lower our environmental footprint, and partner on innovative approaches. We are proud to join RE100 and announce our aspiration to power all of our facilities with renewable energy.” –  Alex Gorsky, CEO of Johnson & Johnson
  • “Walmart set out on its journey to be powered by 100 percent renewable beginning in 2005, and today’s pledge with RE100 further affirms the importance of our aspirational goal.  With much of Walmart’s projected growth over the coming years set to take place in Central and Latin America, we are committed to increasing demand for renewable energy globally.” – Enrique Ostale, President and CEO of Walmart Latin America
  • “For Steelcase, joining RE100 is a reflection of our ongoing commitment to renewable energy. Our current investment in renewables equaling 100 percent of our global electricity use is an important part of our energy strategy. At the same time, we are passionate about continually finding new ways to reduce energy usage in every part of our business. We look forward to sharing and learning with The Climate Group and other leading global organizations and are proud to join forces in promoting a clean energy future for all.” – Jim Keane, President and CEO of Steelcase Inc
  • “At Voya, we help Americans plan, invest and protect their savings so that they can prepare to retire with greater success. As we do this, we are equally committed to protecting our planet’s natural resources and doing our part to ensure a sustainable environmental future for everyone. Joining RE100 is a testament to Voya’s established track record of purchasing renewable energy and minimizing our ecological footprint through responsible business practices. We believe that efforts like these are not only good for the environment, but that they also contribute to a positive culture that attracts employees, partners and customers – and supports a company’s bottom line.” – Rodney O. Martin Jr., CEO of Voya Financial
  • “As a leading global financial institution, we have had a long standing commitment to finance and invest in clean energy around the world to help the transition to a low carbon economy. We are also committed to reducing our own carbon footprint, and will target the use of 100 percent renewable power to meet our global electricity needs by 2020. We’re proud to be part of the RE100 initiative as a way to partner with leading companies in expanding the deployment of clean energy.” – Kyung-Ah Park, Head of Environmental Markets at Goldman Sachs
  • “We have a long term vision to be powered by 100 percent renewable energy and have a goal of 30 per cent renewable energy by 2020. Efforts like RE100 are key to helping scale efforts and allow peer-to-peer networking with like-minded companies.” – Len Sauers, Vice President of Global Sustainability at Procter & Gamble
  • “Climate change is a global issue that requires global solutions. We believe that collaboration is important to accelerate and scale sustainable innovations that have potential to change the world, and Nike is proud to join the leading global brands in RE100 with our commitment to reach 100% renewable energy.” – Eric Sprunk, Chief Operating Officer, NIKE, Inc
  • “Research shows that the most ambitious companies have seen a 27 percent return on their low carbon investments – no wonder new names keep joining RE100. Lowering risk, protecting against price rises, saving millions and boosting brand is what shaping a low carbon economy is all about. Today these companies are signalling loud and clear to COP21 negotiators that forward-thinking businesses back renewables and want to see a strong climate deal in Paris.” – Mark Kenber, CEO of The Climate Group
  • “In addition to developing and selling solutions that help enable a low-carbon economy, we at DSM feel a responsibility to reduce our own carbon footprint. Saving energy and increasing our sourcing of renewable energy are the two key priorities to achieve this. The RE100 movement is giving a clear signal that the transition to renewable energy is real. The world’s leading sustainable companies are getting prepared for this major change.” – Fokko Wientjes, Vice President Corporate Sustainability & Public-Private Partnerships at Royal DSM
  • “With our commitment to renewable energy our goal is to take a leadership role and help create demand for renewable energy across the globe. Reducing our own footprint is a key commitment within our climate change strategy, which also focuses on investments, financing, research and risk management.” – Caroline Anstey, Head of UBS and Society at the Swiss bank UBS
  • “This proves yet again that the work of state and regional governments is not only supporting a transition to a low carbon economy, but accelerating it. We are implementing innovative programmes that will allow this prosperous future to become a reality. The Compact of States and Regions creates the opportunity for us to accurately and publicly record data against our climate targets. We continue to lead the way, and do so because we know it will not only create a healthier environment for our citizens, but because it is a significant economic opportunity for a more prosperous, sustainable economy. Indeed this is the only pathway to long-term and sustainable economic growth.” – Premier Philippe Couillard of Québec, and North America co-chair of The Climate Group States & Regions Alliance
  • “This very welcome announcement shows that state and regional governments are showing bold and effective leadership on climate change. The Compact of States and Regions, which was launched at the UN Climate Summit last year, has been instrumental in promoting effective climate action. Ambitious leadership by governments at all levels is needed to meet the climate challenge and build a safer, healthier and more prosperous future for all.” – Janos Pasztor, United Nations Assistant Secretary-General on Climate Change
  • “States, provinces and regions across the globe aren’t waiting to act on climate change. With this Compact – and the Under 2 MOU  [a complementary and coordinated initiative, ed.] – we’re facing the future and seriously confronting the existential threat of climate change.” The Under 2 MOU brings together sub-national jurisdictions to commit to ambitious long-term reduction goals to limit the increase in global average temperatures to below 2 degrees Celsius. A number of Under 2 MOU signatories report to the Compact so that progress toward their emission-reduction targets can be accurately and publicly measured, and others are encouraged to do so as well.” – Governor Edmund G. Brown Jr. of California
  • “Rapid action to a low carbon economy will benefit everyone. It tackles climate change, supports the development of new technologies and creates new jobs. We want to work closely with partner governments, businesses and non-governmental organisations from around the world to upscale this transition. Platforms like the Compact of States and Regions allow us to lead by example and shows the need and way towards a strong agreement in Paris.” – Nicola Sturgeon, First Minister of Scotland

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