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Business Case
As Government Pulls Out, US Private Sector Renews Support of Paris Agreement

US business leaders have long been vocal supporters of the Paris Agreement — especially since the President declared his intention to withdraw. In the past year, the private sector has renewed its clarion call for the US to step up its policies to protect the economy from climate change.

Today, as COP25 kicked off in Madrid, CEOs from 75 companies, representing all sectors of the US economy and employing over two million people — along with the AFL-CIO, which represents 12.5 million workers — have issued a joint statement in support of the US remaining in the Paris Agreement.

At a pivotal moment for action on the climate crisis, these forward-thinking business leaders — which include CEOs from tech giants Adobe, Apple, Google, Microsoft and Salesforce; apparel giants Gap, Gucci, Kering, Levi Strauss and PVH Corp; financial services leaders Bank of America, Citigroup, Goldman Sachs, ING and Mastercard; and consumer packaged goods giants Coca-Cola, Mars, Nestlé, PepsiCo and Unilever — have joined forces to take a stand for both the economic health and competitiveness of the country and its companies, and the wellbeing of its communities and working families.

The US private sector has long been vocal in its support of the Paris Agreement — especially since the President declared his intention to withdraw from the Agreement in the wake of the 2016 election: Coalitions of dozens of corporate heavyweights and institutional investors sent multiple letters and took out full-page ads in publications including The New York Times, urging the new President to reconsider. Signatories to today’s proclamation also include Walt Disney Company Chairman and CEO Robert Iger and Tesla co-founder and CEO Elon Musk, who both left the White House’s economic advisory council when the President announced his refusal to honor the Agreement.

In the past year, the private sector has renewed its clarion call for the US government to step up its policies to protect the economy from climate change: Last year, as protesters disrupted the Trump administration’s tone-deaf attempt to promote fossil fuels at COP24 in Poland, 415 global investors, with $32 trillion in assets under management, joined the companies, cities and states calling upon the government to take bold climate action, through the 2018 Global Investor Statement to Governments on Climate Change. Then, May 2019 saw the launch of the CEO Climate Dialogue, in which the CEOs of 13 US and global Fortune 500 companies aimed to build bipartisan support for climate policies that will increase regulatory and business certainty, reduce climate risk, and spur the investment and innovation needed to meet science-based emissions-reduction targets. To date, the proposals seem to have largely fallen on deaf ears.

"Driving progress to combat the impacts of climate change requires a global response that protects the planet and enables sustainable growth for everyone,” says Douglas M. Baker, Jr., Chairman and CEO of Ecolab Inc. and signatory to today’s proclamation. “The Paris Agreement brings all nations together to address climate change, and the US must be a part of this important initiative for the benefit of its citizens and the world."

Today’s “United for the Paris Agreement” proclamation reads:

“We the undersigned are a group of CEOs who employ more than 2 million people in the United States and union leaders who represent 12.5 million workers. Together, we know that driving progress on addressing climate change is what’s best for the economic health, jobs, and competitiveness of our companies and our country.

In 2017, many of us came together to rally behind the US’ participation in the Paris Agreement. We came together to say we are still in. … Today, we stand by our conviction that a commitment to the Paris Agreement requires a just transition of the workforce — one that respects labor rights and is achieved through dialogue with workers and their unions. Participation in the Paris Agreement enables us to plan for a just transition and create new decent, family-supporting jobs and economic opportunity. 

*Staying in the Paris Agreement will strengthen our competitiveness in global markets, positioning the United States to lead the deployment of new technologies that support the transition, provide for our workers and communities, and create jobs and companies built to last. *

It also supports investment by setting clear goals which enable long-term planning. It encourages innovation to achieve emissions reductions at low cost. 

*There has been progress, but not enough. This moment calls for greater, more accelerated action than we’ve seen. It calls for the strong policy framework the Paris Agreement provides, one that allows the US the freedom to choose our own path to emissions reductions. *

*The promise of the Paris Agreement is one of a just and prosperous world. We urge the United States to join us in staying in.” *

"For the sake of this and the next generation, we cannot ignore the climate crisis we face today. Business, governments, civil society and individuals must act together and we must be more ambitious,” said Roberto Marques, Executive Chairman of Natura & Co. “Because when it comes down to it, we cannot run businesses on a dead planet. This campaign is a great start and I would encourage every business to get involved."