Fundamentally, The Climate Pledge is a tangiblecommitment made by companies to the challenge of reaching net zero emissions by 2040. It is a pledge which has already been made by a vast range of 110 businesses, such as Amazon, Microsoft, Uber, Coca-Cola, and ITV. around the globe. This is ten years in advance of the deadline set out by The Paris Agreement, made within the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change and signed in 2016. The agreement includes a number of mandatory measures for monitoring, verifying, and public reporting of progress towardseach country’s targets for emissions-reduction.In line with scientific research, however, signatories of the pledge recognise that the terms of this agreement, while vital for the prevention of irreparable climate damage, will be too little to late. The Climate Pledge therefore functions as a coalition of influential global companies, which strives to put pressure on governments to not only maintain the commitments made in The Paris Agreement, but to go above and beyond to protect our planet for future generations.
The Climate Pledge therefore consists of three main principles, to which signatories are required to adhere:
Regular Reporting – under the pledge, businesses are required to measure and publicly report their greenhouse gas emissions on a regular basis. This is designed to make companies aware of which aspects of their business model need to change in order to reach net zero emissions, and should exist as a record to demonstrate significant, quantifiable reductions year upon year.
Carbon Elimination – By implementing various decarbonization strategies,as described in the Paris Agreement, signatories must strive to make real business changes. This will include efficiency improvements, renewable energy, and materials reductions, as well as new and innovative carbon emission elimination strategies.
Credible Offsets – In order to neutralize any remaining emissions which cannot be avoided, signatories are required to contribute toquantifiable, real, permanent, and socially-beneficial offset schemes and initiatives in order to maintain their commitment to achieving net zero annual carbon emissions by 2040. The consequences of failure are almost inconceivable. From rising sea levels, to forest fires, rising global temperatures are already beginning to take a toll on the environment. Around the world, we are already beginning to see areas of human settlements being destroyed by climate change, ultimately making them uninhabitable and creating increasing numbers of ‘climate refugees’. In a world where consumers are increasingly aware of the risks of climate change and the need for sustainability, the future of signatories to The Climate Pledge therefore depends upon their ability to keep their promise to strive for net zero. In the long run, these businesses are as dependent as the rest of humanity on the continued habitability of the planet, while consumers are increasingly likely to choose more sustainable competitors. For a business to fail in their commitment to The Climate Pledge, then, is to be boycottedfor an environmentally unsustainable business model, making businesses continued commitment to net zero essential to their survival in every way.