COPENHAGEN, December 13, 2009 – A global climate agreement and US legislation will help businesses innovate, become more efficient and profitable, and create millions of new jobs, said the chief executives of four major corporations at a business roundtable event hosted by World Wildlife Fund today. The event took place during the United Nation’s global climate negotiations in Copenhagen.
The event, moderated by Becky Anderson, host of the CNN’s Business International, brought together the heads of The Coca Cola Company, JohnsonDiversey, Duke Energy and Canadian grocery chain Loblaws.
“There’s no denying it--climate change is real and the time to act is now. Not next quarter. Not next year. Not when it’s too late. Now,” said Muhtar Kent, Chairman and CEO of The Coca Cola Company, which recently joined the “Copenhagen Communique,” which calls for a global climate agreement. “This is the time to show leadership and make history.”
“We’re seeing here in Copenhagen the most progressive leading businesses signaling that regulation, a legal framework, a global deal is essential to helping them move in the right direction,” said WWF President and CEO Carter Roberts. “As companies look out 50 years and make the long-term investment decisions critical to their business operations, they need regulatory certainty. That’s why corporate leaders are calling for passage of climate legislation in the US and agreement on a global climate deal here in Copenhagen.”
Jim Rogers, Chairman, President and CEO of Duke Energy, the third largest greenhouse gas emitter in North and South America, and the 12th largest globally, noted he was an unusual advocate for climate legislation and a global climate deal. However, he said, the business decisions he faces – which are measured in billions of dollars and span decades, not quarters – require the long-term regulatory certainty that can only come from legal frameworks at the national and international levels. Such regulatory certainty, Rogers said, would allow companies to invest and innovate. “Action on climate change can stimulate the economy and create millions of jobs.”
The “cap and trade” approach of legislation currently before Congress, Rogers said, is a business-friendly solution to climate change, describing it as “the ultimate in a public-private approach to problem solving. It allows for a price on carbon. It gives us a roadmap. It gives us certainty. It allows us to invest in technology and develop technology going forward.”
Galen Weston, Executive Chairman of Loblaw Companies, Ltd., Canada’s largest food distributor and largest employer, echoed the need for regulatory certainty in urging agreement on a global deal in Copenhagen. “This would allow us to make confident decisions, over multiple-years. This will encourage innovative solutions driven by private enterprise and reward leaders,” Weston said. “Give business an environment where we can move aggressively and you’ll be amazed at what we accomplish.”
JohnsonDiversey Inc. Chairman Curt Johnson said that reducing emissions can also reduce a company’s costs, thereby increasing profits. “Once industry adopts a mindset that equates greenhouse gas emissions with waste, we’ll make progress in ways and to an extent that we have never seen before. This will be good for the planet and good for our businesses. But we must act and we must act now.”
JohnsonDiversey, a member of WWF’s Climate Savers program, which helps companies reduce their absolute emissions, has substantially cut its output of greenhouse gasses and in so doing has significantly reduced waste and inefficiency. “For every dollar we spend, we find we can save two dollars in waste reduction,” said Johnson. Because of the enormous opportunity in cutting waste and inefficiency, JohnsonDiversey was able to triple its original target of an 8 percent emissions reduction by 2013 to a 25 percent cut by that same year.
ACT FOR OUR FUTURE
For more information about WWF’s efforts to secure Senate passage of climate legislation, please visit www.ActForOurFuture.org.