Corporations Lead Way to Low-Carbon Economy

Gap Warsaw
Trendy retailer Gap Inc. is a climate leadership award winner and a global brand. The company opened its first store in Warsaw in 2011.

Washington,
March 2,  2012

Major corporate players in a variety of industries, from food to retail to computers, have received awards for their leadership in reducing carbon emissions and taking action on climate change.

The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) and several private-sector organizations devoted to climate and environmental issues presented the awards for the first time March 1 at a conference in Fort Lauderdale, Florida.

“The Climate Leadership Award winners are breaking new ground in cutting carbon pollution that harms our climate and threatens our health,” said Gina McCarthy, assistant administrator of EPA’s Office of Air and Radiation. “We applaud our winners for their inspiring leadership, and hope they will serve as examples to catalyze the efforts of other organizations.”

The Center for Climate and Energy Solutions (C2ES), formerly the Pew Center on Global Climate Change, is one of the organizations sponsoring the awards. C2ES has a long-standing reputation as a research and analysis organization focusing public attention on environmental change. “We join EPA in applauding the first winners of the Climate Leadership Award,” said C2ES President Eileen Claussen.

“These companies demonstrate every day that it’s possible to shrink your carbon footprint without compromising your bottom line. Their accomplishments will inspire other companies to act, and will contribute to strong, sensible policies benefiting both our economy and our climate,” Claussen said.

IBM received an award for its organizational leadership as it pursued and met goals to reduce the amount of greenhouse gas emissions it produces in its global business delivering information technology products and services.

Employing 425,000 people worldwide, IBM started reducing its emissions in the 1990s, and by 2005 it had brought those emissions down an amount equivalent to 40 percent of its 1990 emissions. Then the company took up a goal of reducing energy use by 12 percent, which was exceeded by 2010 with energy use down more than 16.5 percent.

Besides imposing energy best practices in its own facilities, IBM is pushing its suppliers to take similar actions, according to background materials provided by EPA. In 2010 IBM established corporate responsibility and environmental management requirements for 27,000 suppliers. Companies hoping to sell goods or services to IBM in more than 90 countries must meet those requirements as a condition for doing business with the New York–based corporation.

UPS was another international business to win recognition for its climate leadership. Operating in more than 220 countries and territories, UPS delivered almost 4 billion packages in 2010. Known to the general public as a shipping company transporting packages and freight, UPS’ wider business is logistics, offering customers services in transportation, trade and the deployment of advanced technology.

UPS became the first major logistics provider in the United States to provide a program where customers purchase carbon offsets to reduce the impact of their shipping. The award recognizes UPS’ actions to influence emissions reductions outside its own operations.

“As we transition in the next few years to a low-carbon economy,” said David Rosenheim of The Climate Registry, “these organizations will undoubtedly reap the benefits of taking aggressive action to reduce their carbon risk.”

Other companies recognized as climate leaders included Ford Motor Company, Intel Corporation, Campbell Soup Company, Gap Inc., Hasbro and SAP.