This Earth Day, businesses are taking ambitious climate action

Today marks the 50th anniversary of Earth Day.

Earth Day began in 1970 as a protest in the US in response to numerous environmental crises, including oil spills, smog, and polluted rivers. The protest has since spread all over the world, launching an entire environmental movement and the planet’s largest civic event. This year’s Earth Day theme is climate action – focusing on the enormous challenge, but also the vast opportunities, of action on climate change.

Businesses have a critical role to play as we begin the Climate Decade, where scientists say we must halve global emissions by 2030 to be in with a fighting chance of limiting global warming to 1.5°C. With over 200 multinationals now committed to The Climate Group’s ambitious initiatives on renewables (RE100), electric vehicles (EV100) and smart efficient energy (EP100), our members and partners are taking bold steps to make the Paris Agreement a reality.

This Earth Day, we look at three leading companies who have committed to the highest level of corporate leadership by joining all three of The Climate Group’s business initiatives, setting the example for companies in the Climate Decade.

Jim Massey, Global Vice-President, Global Sustainability, AstraZeneca

Global pharmaceutical giant AstraZeneca became a triple joiner in 2019. By joining EV100 and switching the company’s 16,000 business vehicles to electric across Europe, Japan and the US, the business will save more than 80,000 metric tons of C02 every year from 2030. AstraZeneca are also showing leadership by highlighting the lack of supply in the EV market, as detailed in The Climate Group’s 2020 EV100 Progress and Insights Report:

“There are obstacles we face, such as infrastructure, such as access to the electric vehicles we’re going to bring into our fleet. So we’re putting out there the demand and the need for infrastructure so that all of us – government, other sectors – can help solve this problem together.” Jim Massey, Global Vice-President, Global Sustainability, AstraZeneca

Global manufacturing company Danfoss became a triple joiner in February 2020. The company has pledged to double its energy productivity through EP100 by 2030 compared to a 2007 baseline – and are on attract to reach the target this year, ten years ahead of schedule. Danfoss’ efforts demonstrate that energy efficiency is integral to clean growth and innovation, as well as a cost-effective way to decarbonize the economy. The company now saves €8.6 million annually on energy bills – providing that energy efficiency provides a strong return on investment over time.

“Energy efficiency is integral to all aspects of clean growth and innovation. The question is not how much renewable energy we can produce, but how much we can integrate or store. We must work together across sectors to combine our solutions and projects and increase the speed and scale of action.” Julia Panzer, Head of Public Affairs & Sustainability, Danfoss

A Landsec EV charging station

Landsec was the first property development and investment company to join all three of The Climate Group’s business initiatives. In 2019 Landsec played a leading role in a call to action to London’s landlords and tenants to speed up the roll out of renewables, energy efficiency and EV charging. As part of Landsec’s RE100 commitment to 100% renewable electricity, the company have advocated for more sustainable energy practices.

Caroline Hill, Head of Sustainability, Public Affairs, Health, Safety and Security, Landsec, said, “There’s a real urgency to combat the most severe effects of climate change within the next decade. Businesses across all sectors – including the property industry – must work together for a better and more sustainable future.”

The Climate Group and Accenture Strategy published a paper in 2019 on business opportunities in the energy transition, which showed that joining all three of The Climate Group’s business initiatives was one of the best ways to work towards an integrated clean energy strategy.

Mike Peirce, Corporate Partnerships Director, The Climate Group and co-author of the paper, said: “This Earth Day, it’s great to see companies continue to commit to and progress towards ambitious clean energy goals, despite the challenging circumstances. The pressing need to tackle climate change and reduce air pollution means we need major companies everywhere to act now to bring cleaner, smarter energy into their operations.”

The Climate Group is holding a webinar in celebration of Earth Day on Friday 24 April to hear directly from businesses on how they are taking action on halving global emissions by 2030. Register here to join the conversation.

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