The companies have signed the pledge with the Obama administration with the joint objective of growing its business at the same time at the same time as reducing its environmental impact, as well as ensuring a positive social impact.
Unilever was one of the first to communicate about signing the pledge, claiming that it is amongst the first multinational companies with US headquarters to sign the pledge, which now involves the companies 8,000 US employees spread over 13 different states.
Under the pledge, Unilever executives have agreed to far-reaching commitments that minimize any contribution to deforestation, reduce CO2 emissions, invest in renewable energy and related technologies, as well more environmentally friendly new products.
The company’s pledge has stipulated the following points as part of the deal with the US government:
- We will achieve zero net deforestation associated with four commodities – palm oil, soy, paper and board, and beef – no later than 2020. This commitment also extends to our tea businesses and supply chains.
- Globally, by 2020, CO2 emissions from electricity from our factories will be at or below 2008 levels, despite significantly higher volumes. CO2 from electricity in manufacturing has been reduced by 37% per ton of production respectively since 2008. This is just the latest step in a long journey. In fact, compared to 1995, this represents a 64% reduction in absolute terms.
- Globally, we have joined the RE100 campaign, committing to 100% renewable electricity in our sites around the world. In the US, we currently purchase renewable electricity credits against 100% of our electricity consumption through a long-term power purchase agreement with NRG. This includes the annual purchase of 90 megawatts of electricity from a Texas wind farm. We are committed to move further by transitioning to on-site and directed off-site sources for 100% of our US electricity needs by 2020.
- We will continue to invest and deploy innovative technologies such as dry shampoo, which we estimate that compared to washing with heated water, reduces GHG emissions by around 90% per consumer use.
The first group of businesses to sign the pledge includes 81 companies with business activities in the United States, covering all 50 states, employing a total of 9 million people, with a staggering combined revenue of $9tn.
Johnson & Johnson’s commitment includes an obligation to reduce its carbon emissions by 20% by 2020 and use 20% of its energy from renewable resources by 2020.
L’Oreal USA has raised the bar higher, reducing CO2 emissions and water consumption by 60% by 2020, while Procter & Gamble has said it will reduce CHG emissions by 30% by 2020 while also sourcing 30% of its energy from renewables by the same date.
On the chemicals and ingredients front, DSM North America was the only player to make a commitment in this first group, pledging to source 50% of the energy needs for its global operations from renewables by 2025, while also improving energy efficiency by 20% by 2020.
Other big names that have signed the pledge include Apple, Alcoa, Bank of America, Cargill, Facebook, GE, Goldman Sachs, Hershey’s, IKEA and Coca-Cola.