Big businesses aim to lead the charge in combating global climate change
Combating global climate change is going to take all hands on deck. From average everyday citizens to giant corporations — and everyone in between — reversing global warming will require a team effort.
There are a variety of ways an individual can reduce their carbon footprint. Being mindful of what you eat, how you travel, and what you purchase can go a long way in doing one’s part.
Much of the onus going forward, however, is going to be on big businesses being able to find ways to reduce their emissions and curb other forms of environmental pollution.
Corporations have taken notice. These days, perhaps more than ever before, consumers are demanding that businesses be mindful, sustainable, and environmentally friendly.
While many companies have promised they will keep the health of the earth top of mind, time is no longer on our side as we race against the clock to keep global temperatures below the breaking point.
One corporation that claims to be stepping up to the plate is the investment firm BlackRock, which has cast itself at the front of the pack when it comes to working with clean energy.
A critical part of BlackRock’s mission is, by 2050, for it to be investing in companies that remove the same amount of carbon dioxide emissions as they put out.
This, in fact, is a running theme amongst big companies and those who do business with them. Making promises that you may not intend (or be able) to keep is not conducive with healing the environment, but rather healing one’s own image.
Being able to back up words with action has thus become a critical component of the race to defeat global warming and climate change, and the example will — as often is the case — have to come from the top down.
Globally known brands Costco and Netflix are two examples of companies who have pledged to be more environmentally friendly, without necessarily pinning down exactly how.
Other companies, such as Cargill and Levi Strauss, have found trouble cutting down emissions the way they intended, while Microsoft and Google have set lofty goals that they may not actually be technologically capable of achieving yet.
With this in mind, there are a number of ways a company can set reasonable climate-action goals that can be both achievable and impactful.
Focusing on sustainability is perhaps the most practical and important way a business can make sure they are being environmentally friendly. Thinking green can help attract talent with similar ambitions and goals.
Being known as a sustainable company can also make a company attractive to new markets that will be more inclined to work with them under a shared vision.
What all businesses should be striving for, ultimately, is to become carbon neutral. Achieving carbon neutrality is one of the most powerful ways one can reduce the effects of global warming.
While having a goal of being entirely carbon neutral is a start, a company will need to set targets, incentives, and deadlines to ensure it achieves any lofty ambitions.
The aforementioned Microsoft is an example of a company that wants to go above and beyond when it comes to being a friend to the environment. In addition to becoming carbon neutral by 2050, the company has claimed it is aiming to be carbon negative by 2030.
“While the world will need to reach net zero, those of us who can afford to move faster and go further should do so,” the company said.
This means that Microsoft not only wants to not produce any more carbon, it also wants to go back and remove all the carbon it has ever put out into the world.
Microsoft acknowledged that becoming carbon negative will be a lofty endeavor but stressed it is one that needs to be done.
“It is an ambitious even — audacious — goal, but science tells us that it’s a goal of fundamental importance to every person alive today and for every generation to follow,” Microsoft said.
Down the Line
Businesses can also start making a positive impact on the climate by looking at and repurposing their supply chains.
Struggles within major supply chains took their toll on the economy during the COVID-19 pandemic, however, reversing this trend in a sustainable way can make a big difference going forward.
More companies taking a greener approach to their manufacturing and supply chain lines will create competition in the space and give suppliers more options to choose from when it comes to who to work with.
Wanting to do business with companies who are dedicated to having sustainable supply chains is another way that vendors are doing their part — creating a mutually beneficial — and green — relationship.
Apple alluded to the “ripple” effect that occurs when companies go green, while stating its goal to be entirely carbon neutral by 2030.
“Businesses have a profound opportunity to help build a more sustainable future, one born of our common concern for the planet we share,” said Tim Cook, Apple’s CEO. “With our commitment to carbon neutrality, we hope to be a ripple in the pond that creates a much larger change.”
Cook also touted how the technology being used to work towards carbon neutrality is actually beneficial to the inner workings of the brand, beyond the environmental benefits.
“The innovations powering our environmental journey are not only good for the planet — they’ve helped us make our products more energy efficient and bring new sources of clean energy online around the world,” Cook said. “Climate action can be the foundation for a new era of innovative potential, job creation, and durable economic growth.”