Fortune 500 CEOs recognize going green saves green

Dozens of America’s largest businesses are recognizing that what is good for their bottom lines can also be good for the environment. On Monday, 68 companies signed on to the White House’s climate pledge, vowing to reduce their greenhouse gas emissions. CEOs from 81 Fortune 500 businesses have now agreed to participate in the initiative.

The action being taken by America’s business community to reduce their carbon footprint is a reminder that going green can also save a lot of green. As President Obama noted, “The perception is that this is an environmental issue, it’s for tree-huggers, and that hard-headed business people either don’t care about it or see it as a conflict with their bottom lines. But for these companies, they’re discovering that they can enhance their bottom lines.”

Best Buy, Coca-Cola, and General Motors were just a few of the corporations that signed on to the carbon reduction pledge on Monday, and the White House expects additional participants in advance of upcoming climate negotiations in Paris.

The results of these efforts will be felt industry-wide. As White House spokesman Brian Deese explains, “When a large company sets certain goals, it can spur action across the supply chain through the adoption of clean energy and emissions reductions.”

Many of the corporations party to the agreement will meet their emissions reduction targets through the increased deployment of wind energy. Earlier today, Google announced that it will invest in Africa’s largest wind farm, located in Kenya and slated for completion in 2017. The investment represents just a portion of the nearly $2 billion Google has invested in renewable energy thus far.

Likewise, earlier this week, Proctor & Gamble unveiled plans to partner in the construction of a Texas wind farm that would supply enough electricity to manufacture all of its home care and fabrics products. Included are well-known brands such as Tide, Downy, and Mr. Clean.  Other businesses, such as Intel, promise to power their operations with 100% renewable energy in the coming years.

Signatories to the White House agreement, entitled American Business Act on Climate, pledge that they will reduce their carbon emissions, invest in renewable energy, and support an agreement at Paris’ United Nations negotiations in November.

President Obama emphasized that support from business leaders will be critical in reaching a successful agreement in Paris. He explained, “What you are seeing now is a reflection of that economic reality, that economic opportunity. Making sure those voices are prominent as we make it to the final stage of climate talks is absolutely critical.”

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