The tech giants are among 28 firms, spanning 17 different sectors, to have committed to do more to help slow the rate at which the Earth’s temperature is rising, and undertake work to help the planet achieve net-zero emissions by 2050.
This is in response to an open letter, penned by a coalition of UN members and supporters, who called on private businesses to do more to address the risks talked about in a recent report by the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change if global warming exceeds 1.5°C.
Other tech firms to have joined the initiative include BT, Vodafone Group, Signify and Singtel, while the representatives from other sectors include pharmaceutical giant AstraZeneca, consumer goods company Unilever and financial services behemoth Zurich Insurance.
“Climate leadership has never been more important than it is right now, and it is inspiring to see so many diverse companies and brands boldly raising their ambitions,” said Lise Kingo, CEO and executive director of the UN Global Compact.
Lise Kingo, UN Global Compact
“Leading companies are already proving that 1.5°C-compliant climate targets are possible, and I encourage all businesses to seize this opportunity to position themselves at the forefront of this movement and contribute to the achievement of the sustainable development goals.”
Leading the way on climate action
Luis Alfonso de Alba, the UN secretary-general’s special envoy for the organisation’s forthcoming Climate Action Summit in September 2019, said the commitment shown by the companies involved in tackling climate change should spur on government leaders to do more too.
And this is important because building a prosperous, net-zero carbon economy by 2050 will require close collaboration between industry and governments, in the UN’s view.
“It is very encouraging to see these climate leaders in the global business community taking action, both to help tackle the climate emergency and because taking climate action presents huge opportunities for early movers,” he said.
“By sending strong market signals, these companies are showing governments that they need to urgently ramp up their national plans in line with the latest climate science.”
One of the commitments made by the 28 participants is to set climate change mitigation targets that can be independently assessed by the Science Based Targets initiative and benchmarked against the latest findings of climate change science.
Paul Simpson, a board member of the Science Based Targets initiative and CEO of environmental impact assessment company CDP, said the targets were ambitious, but achievable.
“The science is clear: to limit the catastrophic impacts of climate change, we must ensure warming does not exceed 1.5°C. The ambition is high, but it’s achievable – and science-based targets give companies a roadmap for getting there,” said Simpson.
“We urge all companies to seize this chance to align their business with a 1.5°C future and drive forward the transition to a net-zero carbon economy.”