Members of the Interfaith Center on Corporate Responsibility (ICCR) announced today that they have sent letters to over 100 publicly held companies – including Adobe, Boeing, International Flavors & Fragrances, Keurig Green Mountain, Motorola, Tiffany & Co. and VF Corporation - encouraging them to make good on statements that they would adopt science-based GHG reduction goals within the next two years.
ICCR is a coalition of faith- and values-based shareholders representing over $200 billion in invested capital who advocate for greater corporate responsibility on social and environmental concerns that also pose significant threats to business - including forced labor, water management and climate change. The letters were signed by 60 institutional investor members, who argue that the setting of science-based targets is in the best long-term interests of the companies and the broader economy.
The companies receiving the letter – which also includes Sustainable Brands member companies 3M, Campbell Soup Company, CVS Health, Dow Chemical, General Motors, PepsiCo, Sealed Air Corp, Steelcase, Target and UPS – indicated in answers on the CDP’s annual Climate Survey that they would be adopting science-based targets within the next two years. The letter is meant to voice support for these commitments and spur the companies to follow through on these promises, particularly in light of a new and uncertain regulatory and policy landscape on climate-related issues.
According to the letter:
The case for setting science-based targets is compelling. Ambitious emissions-reduction targets provide the context needed for strategic investments to transform business models, create and penetrate new markets, prepare companies for regulation and help identify risks and opportunities.
Further, CDP reports that companies that set strong targets evidence strong financial results. According to a December 8 piece in the Wall Street Journal, several high-profile corporations including Walmart, Alphabet (Google) and American Electric Power Co. have gone on record to say that, regardless of changes the incoming administration may seek to bring to environmental regulations, they were locked into a lower-emissions trajectory driven in part by market forces, such as cheaper prices for natural gas and wind power.
“Over 200 companies have committed to adopting targets through the Science-Based Target Initiative, a collaboration between CDP, The World Resources Institute, the UN Global Compact and the World Wildlife Foundation,” said Aaron Ziulkowski of Walden Asset Management. “We want to voice our strong support for those companies that have signaled their intention to engage with the Initiative and urge them to move forward with those commitments as soon as possible.”
While there are compelling financial reasons for target setting, ICCR members, many of whom are faith-based investors, also make the moral case for immediate action.
“The world’s poorest, most disadvantaged communities - those who have benefitted least from the growth of the fossil fuel-driven economy - are predicted to be most directly impacted by climate change,” said Rev. Michael Crosby of Seventh Generation Interfaith Coalition for Responsible Investment. "Ethical business practices are in the long-term interests of these companies and they should act quickly to reduce GHG emissions by adopting meaningful and science-based targets.”
“Industry leaders recognize that the setting of robust GHG-reduction targets is critical for the long-term vitality of their businesses,” said Christina Herman, Program Director for ICCR’s environment initiatives. “We are hopeful that our letter helps companies to see the importance of their contribution to the fight to preserve a stable climate on which the global economy depends, and moves them to make their emissions-reduction promises a reality.”