WASHINGTON – Levi Strauss & Co., Gap Inc., L’Oreal USA, Nike Inc. and VF Corp. joined a group of 365 business and investors in signing a statement calling on President-elect Donald Trump and other U.S. and global leaders to support the Paris Climate Agreement.
The companies stressed the need to ramp up the transition to a low-carbon economy, as opposed to pulling back from those global goals. The new statement comes amid growing concern about the U.S. commitment to climate change under a Trump presidency.
Trump has vowed to “cancel” the Paris climate agreement and has in the past called climate change a “hoax.” He has also pledged to roll back President Obama’s signature Clean Power Plan and has harshly criticized the regulations issued by the Environmental Protection Agency.
The Paris accord seeks to reduce global greenhouse gas emissions. More more than 190 countries, including the U.S., China, India, Brazil and European Union members, have committed to the agreement, representing more than 75 percent of global emissions. The agreement – the first global framework seeking to tackle climate change – entered into force on Nov. 4.
Retailers and brands have been big backers of the global effort to reduce greenhouse gas emissions, as well as the Obama administration’s domestic initiatives.
“Now more than ever, Levi Strauss & Co. believes it is important to reaffirm our commitment to address climate change by supporting the Paris Climate Agreement,” said Michael Kobori, vice president of sustainability at Levi. “Building an energy-efficient economy in the U.S. powered by low-carbon energy will ensure our nation’s competitiveness and position U.S. companies as leaders in the global market, all while doing the right thing for our planet.”
Also signing the new statement were Tiffany & Co., Unilever, Patagonia, Eileen Fisher, ebay, The North Face, General Mills, Intel and dozens of Fortune 500 companies.
“We want the U.S. economy to be energy efficient and powered by low-carbon energy,” the companies said in their statement, which was issued in Marrakech, Morocco, at the COP22 climate negotiations.
“Cost-effective and innovative solutions can help us achieve these objectives,” they said. “Failure to build a low-carbon economy puts American prosperity at risk. But the right action now will create jobs and boost U.S. competitiveness.”
President Obama made reducing greenhouse gas emissions and mitigating the impact on the environment one of his signature issues. The administration issued the “America’s Business Act on Climate Pledge” to companies last year in an effort to enlist the help of the business community to reduce its carbon footprint and stave off climate change.
Wal-Mart Stores Inc. was one of the original 13 companies that signed on to Obama’s commitment and revealed steps it was taking to reduce greenhouse gas emissions.
As of last year, more than 154 companies combined had signed the Obama administration pledge, employing nearly 11 million people and representing $4.2 trillion in annual revenue.
Other major retailers and brands also signed onto Obama’s commitment, including VF, Levi, Nike, L’Oreal, Kohl’s, Target Corp., Procter & Gamble, The Walt Disney Co., Coca-Cola Co., General Motors and Microsoft.
Obama has said his plan if fully implemented would cut 6 billion tons of carbon pollution through 2030, which the White house has said is equivalent to taking all of the cars in the U.S. off the road for more than four years.
In Wednesday’s statement, the signatories, many of which also signed Obama’s pledge, vowed to hold up their end of the bargain.
“We pledge to do our part, in our own operations and beyond, to realize the Paris Agreement’s commitment of a global economy that limits global temperature rise to well below 2 degrees Celsius,” they stated.
They called on elected U.S. leaders to strongly support low-carbon policies, continued investments in a low carbon economy to give financial decision-makers clarity and boost investor confidence, and continued U.S. participation in the Paris agreement to limit global warming in the long term.