Corporate Climate Commitment – How to Address It

Teresa Madaleno

Every day we hear about more companies pledging to put sustainable practices in place. Going green is becoming a business trend. While this sounds like a step in the right direction, climate change leaders are left wondering: how do we know if companies are serious?

Wal-Mart, Starbucks and Goldman Sachs have openly declared that they are committed to using 100 percent renewable energy. Many other businesses have also promised to lower their carbon footprint, yet there is no real measurement to determine if these corporations are really going to follow through. The good news is, that could all change.

The United Nations recently appointed a climate change “champion” to help push the world towards a low carbon economy. France’s Laurence Tubiana, was a keen negotiator during the COP21 talks and has said she hopes to build a system that measures corporate efforts to address climate change.

Tubiana is still developing a system that will be transparent, but in the meantime, climate policy makers are weighing in on how corporations should be evaluated for their commitment to going green.

Many policy experts say that first and foremost any climate change initiatives and commitments should be reviewed and approved at the highest levels of an organization. This will help ensure that company leaders view global warming as a vital part of their business strategy. Once goals are set, policy experts suggest paths be mapped out to meet those goals. This includes considering everything across the supply chain.

The next step, but perhaps one of the most important, is progress reporting. Policy makers argue that some accounting firms have developed ways to audit sustainability efforts for companies, but these methods are too expensive so new, affordable verification systems are needed.

Most climate experts believe businesses do want to follow through with their commitments to fighting global warming, but in some cases they need more guidance and structure. Some environmentalists say the new climate “champion” who has been described by members of the UN as “determined”, may be the push some companies have needed for a long time.

Here is what Lauren Tubiana had to say on twitter after she was appointed climate “champion” … Proud to be nominated high level climate #champion to carry the #ParisAgreement legacy, accelerate action and mobilize all actors #cop21