Summary

By participating in Climate Savers, companies work with WWF to develop a climate action plan that includes absolute emission reduction targets and steps to meet their goals. Independent technical experts monitor and verify compliance. Climate Savers corporations include The Coca Cola Company, Johnson & Johnson, IBM, Nike, Sony, Hewlett Packard, Nokia, Fairmont Hotels and Resorts, Polaroid, Catalyst, Lafarge, The Collins Companies, Sagawa Express, Novo Nordisk, Tetra Pak, Nokia Siemens Systems, JohnsonDiversey, Elopak, Sofidel Group, Xanterra Parks & Resorts, and Spitsbergen Travel.

On March 27, the Environmental and Energy Study Institute (EESI) and World Wildlife Fund (WWF) held a briefing with business leaders from around the world to discuss their efforts to reduce carbon dioxide emissions. Corporations in WWF’s Climate Savers Program are collectively cutting tens of millions of tons of carbon dioxide emissions, demonstrating that reductions are not only possible, but make good business sense. Companies highlighted best practices, innovations and achievements, as well as new commitments to substantially reduce greenhouse gas emissions.

  • Major international corporations have substantially reduced their carbon dioxide emissions through the “Climate Savers” program, an initiative of the World Wildlife Fund. Companies have collectively cut an estimated 50 million tons since the program began ten years ago. Future reductions are projected to exceed 14 million tons per year.
  • The corporate executives representing member companies indicated that aggressive efforts to reduce carbon emissions have been entirely consistent with maintaining and even improving profitability. Veteran members of the Climate Savers program reported steady growth in their businesses while meeting substantial reduction targets or holding carbon emissions constant.
  • Carbon emission reductions were mostly commonly achieved through energy efficiency, resulting in substantial savings in operating costs.
  • Many executives noted that the sustainability of their company’s business model was a strong motivation for reducing emissions. For example, Sofidel Group (a paper products manufacturer) and Fairmont Hotels and Resorts both depend directly on resources currently under threat from climate change.
  • Internal programs to reduce energy use and carbon emissions paid additional dividends in the form of employee morale, recruitment, and retention. Executives noted how they discovered their work force to be literate and passionate about energy and climate issues. Employees are often an underused source of good ideas for profitably cutting carbon emissions.
  • Customers and clients of these companies are increasingly willing to pay a price premium for products and services that are regarded as more sustainable and climate-friendly, a notable change from just a few years ago.
  • Certain challenges and obstacles to wider adoption of greenhouse gas (GHG) reduction efforts were mentioned:
  1. There is a persistent myth that GHG reduction goals run counter to profitability. The Climate Savers program is helping to dispel that myth.
  2. There is not one single standard for measuring and tracking GHG reductions.
  3. Three executives mentioned a lack of a coherent U.S. policy in response to global warming as a counterproductive factor.
  4. There is a public relations risk in seeking out scrutiny by becoming associated with a non-profit organization and making firm commitments.
  5. Change is difficult for any organization and GHG reduction efforts may require a significant investment of employee time to measure emissions and develop a feasible response.
  6. Barriers are being overcome by evidence of potential cost savings and recognition of the potential risks—regulatory, fiduciary, and customer relations-of inaction.

Speaker Slides