IISD letter

155 companies urge governments to enact net zero emissions recovery from COVID-19

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155 businesses, representing five million employees and a combined market capitalization of over $2 trillion USD, are urging governments around the world to develop economic recovery policies responding to COVID-19 that also advance climate goals over the short- and long-terms. They assert that such measures will not only help prevent and build resilience to future societal disruptions such as the pandemic, but also provide a sounder footing for economic recovery in the coming months and years.

All 155 companies are members of the Science-Based Targets initiative (SBTi), a collaboration between CDP, the United Nations Global Compact, World Resources Institute, and WWF that champions science-based target setting on GHG emissions as a way to catalyze the transition to a low-carbon economy. They include AstraZeneca, Bayer, Colgate Palmolive Hewlett Packard, Iberdrola, IKEA , Intuit, Mars, Nestlé, Salesforce, Unilever, and many others. 

The companies themselves have pledged to: 1) ground their corporate decisions in the best available science, 2) invest in systemic economic change; and 3) collaborate with governments and others to expedite the transition to a green economy.

COVID-19 has been incredibly harmful to global public health and economic well-being around the world. I don’t think the breadth and depth of its effects will be fully understood for years, if not decades, to come. At the same time, this incredible disruption to our lives offers an unparalleled opportunity to rethink our values and build a new economic foundation for our society. This new call-to-action from businesses around the world is a powerful reminder that a green economic development is not only necessary to prevent and mitigate future tragedies, but also the best way to recover from the one we are already in.

However, their words will be for naught unless governments and businesses alike put their money where their mouths are. Too often, we see strong words in press releases and public statements, only to find that business-as-usual prevails in every meaningful way on-the-ground. It’s on businesses and governments to heed their own calls-to-action. But it’s also on citizens to hold these institutions accountable, voting with their dollars and voting with their actual votes.

What will you do to ensure that our recovery from COVID-19 seizes our incredible opportunity to build a green, resilient future?


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Peter Schulte

Peter Schulte is the founder and editor of Kindling. Peter is also Senior Digital Engagement Associate for the Pacific Institute and the UN Global Compact's CEO Water Mandate, connecting businesses to sustainable water practices. Peter holds a B.S. in Conservation and Resource Studies and a B.A. in Comparative Literature from University of California, Berkeley, and an M.B.A. in Sustainable Systems from Pinchot University. He lives in Bellingham, WA, USA with his wife, son, and cat.

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