Big tech firms, food companies commit to White House climate change pledge
Dozens of the world’s largest companies have joined a White House initiative to curb greenhouse gas emissions and invest in clean energy.
On Monday, the White House announced that another 68 companies have taken the pledge, called the ‘American Business Act on Climate,’ bringing the total corporate participants to 81. Big tech companies, global retailers, clean energy firms, food makers, agriculture conglomerates, and a couple of utilities have all signed on.
Collectively, companies backing the program have a $5 trillion market capitalization, account for $3 trillion in annual revenue, and employ nine million people.
Notably absent from the list are oil and coal companies that have built their businesses on fossil fuels. The Obama administration is hoping to target power plant operators through the Environmental Protection Agency Clean Power Plan, which requires that they reduce carbon dioxide emissions.
The addition of new signers to the White House initiative show how corporate America is increasingly interested in reducing emissions and fighting climate change. Companies are hoping to lower costs, reduce global risk, comply with government regulation, and attract and retain younger employees.
During his last term in office, President Obama has made clean energy and lower carbon emissions at top priority.
Big tech companies that joined the White House’s pledge this week include AT&T (T), Autodesk (ADSK), Dell (DELL), EMC (EMC), Facebook (FB), GE (GE), Hewlett-Packard (HPQ), Intel (INTC), Johnson Controls (JCI), Qualcomm (QCOM), Salesforce.com (CRM), Siemens and Sony of America.
Food conglomerates that have newly taken the pledge include McDonald’s (MCD), General Mills (GIS), The Hershey Company (HSY), Kellogg’s (K), Nestle, and Pepsi-Co (PEP). Among the consumer goods companies are Procter and Gamble (PG), Johnson and Johnson (JNJ), Levi’s Strauss, L’Oreal US, Nike (NKE), and Unilever.
Large biofuel firms like Abengoa Bioenergy U.S., Iberdrola U.S.A., Pacific Ethanol, and POET joined the pledge, while some of the biggest agriculture firms — like Cargill and Monsanto (MON) — did as well. The two utilities that took the plunge include PG&E (PCG) and Portland General Electric.
The companies each make their own individual pledges to lower carbon emissions and invest in clean energy. For example, McDonald’s says it will eliminate food and products that lead to deforestation from its global supply chain, as well as use sustainably-grown beef, palm oil, fiber and coffee. In addition McDonald’s plans to make its restaurants more energy efficient, has a goal to purchase clean energy in Europe and increase its recycling.
To learn more about the White House climate change pledge, watch this Fortune video: