The US corporate sector has been asked to cut its carbon dioxide (CO2) emissions by 1.2 gigatonnes by 2020. A jointed study by the Carbon Disclosure Project (CDP) and WWF has showed that this target is not only possible but also incredibly convenient for companies.
According to the WWF, a corporation can – and should – reduce its carbon footprint through a series of measures that would not only benefit the planet, but would also deliver significant savings.
The report, called The 3% Solution: Driving Profits Through Carbon Reduction, argues that US companies can save up to $190 billion by 2020 and up to $780 billion over 10 years by cutting their CO2 emissions by 3%.
McKinsey & Company, Point380 and Deloitte LLP have also contributed to the study.
This 3% cap is aligned with what the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) said is the necessary CO2 reduction target for the corporate sector, in order to prevent temperatures from rising more than 2C.
Carter Roberts, CEO of WWF said, “World governments have moved far too slow to address the climate change threat and people are looking for leadership from the brands they trust to take concrete actions now.
“These numbers provide a glimpse into the future – where smart companies slashed emissions, increased profits and helped secure a better future for all of us.”
Paul Simpson, CEO of CDP added, “Corporations must act now not only to address environmental risk, but also to aid economic recovery in the United States and build resilience. Investing in energy efficiency and renewable energy saves cost, stimulates innovation, creates jobs and builds energy independence and security.”
The ‘3% solution’, according to the data, ensures high returns from investment in low-carbon technology, but it needs to be capitalised on right away if companies want to see significant savings before 2020.
If the corporate sector decides to look at reduction opportunities from utilities, consumers and supply chains, the amount of CO2 reduction could be as much as 2.2 gigatonnes, thanks to the so-called Carbon Productivity Portfolio.
This would allow companies to seize opportunities by setting ambitious targets, engaging with stakeholders, increasing clean energy supply, developing low-carbon products and supply chains, and improving energy management.
Another tool identified by the study is the Carbon Target and Profit Calculator, which companies can use to set emission reduction goals and claim their share of the savings.
Some members of the corporate sector have already commented on the 3% solution.
Chris Librie, a senior director at HP Sustainability & Social Innovation, said, “This report shows that not taking action to reduce emissions and fight climate change is like leaving big money on the table.”
Meanwhile, Jeff Seabright, vice-president for environment and water at Coca-Cola, commented, “This study shows that there are tremendous opportunities for companies to make operational changes that benefit both the environment and their economic bottom-lines.
“There is a pressing need for business, government and civil society to work together to pursue these ‘no regret’ opportunities if we are to stabilise emissions in this decade.”