SEATTLE — More and more of the world’s biggest businesses say they are taking concerted action to fight climate change. The same is true of big business in the United States, even in the absence of federal action on climate change. But in Washington state, not so much.
For several years, institutional investors around the world have been pressuring the companies they own shares in to come clean on the climate. The investors want the companies to publicly reveal their greenhouse gas emissions and their strategies for doing better by the climate.
That pressure has largely worked. Most of the biggest corporations in the world and in the United States now measure and publicly report their climate impacts.
Zoe Tcholak–Antitch: “What they measure, they can then manage. It’s good to know that a vast majority have now taken that first step, and are measuring their emissions and reporting to their investors.”
Zoe Tcholak–Antitch runs the New York office of the Carbon Disclosure Project. The project represents institutional investors with some $70 trillion in assets.
This year, for the first time, most companies reported taking climate change seriously enough to have their senior executives get involved in reducing company emissions.
Here in Washington, only four of the eight companies on the Fortune 500 disclosed their climate impacts publicly. Costco and Nordstrom revealed their impacts to their investors, but have kept the information hidden from the public.
Truck maker Paccar and online retailer Amazon.com did not provide any information to the Carbon Disclosure Project.
The Carbon Project named Amazon as one of the world’s largest companies to keep its emissions under wraps. Amazon did not reply to the project’s multiple requests for information. Company spokespeople did not return KUOW’s phone calls either.
Microsoft and Starbucks both reported goals for slowing down their growing emissions. But among Washington’s largest companies, only Weyerhaeuser has a publicly announced target for actually reducing its emissions and its impact on the climate.
Anthony Chavez: “We just think that it’s the right thing to do. We think it’s important to be fully transparent.”
Anthony Chavez is a Weyerhaeuser spokesman.
Chavez: “The pulp and paper sector is traditionally an energy–intensive sector. But Weyerhaeuser is obviously looking at ways to operate more efficiently and to reduce greenhouse gas emissions. That’s what we’ve done.”
Weyerhaeuser has pledged to reduce its emissions 40 percent by the year 2020, compared to the emissions in the year 2000. The company is already more than halfway toward that goal.
At the end of September, some US companies will be required to report emissions for the first time. The new federal requirement only applies to the most–polluting facilities, like power plants and oil refineries.
(This was first reported for KUOW.org.)
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