How Corporations ‘Bypassed the Politics’ to Lead on Clean Energy in 2017
From mega wind purchases to rooftop solar arrays to electric truck orders, companies of all sizes are stepping up to act on climate.
When President Trump announced plans to withdraw from the Paris climate accord attention quickly turned to corporate America. Some 1,700 U.S. businesses from every state and of varying sizes -- from Walmart to Wild Joe’s Coffee Spot in Bozeman, Montana -- have signed the “We Are Still In” declaration. The initiative, which also includes cities, statehouses and college campuses, was intended to demonstrate America’s enduring commitment to delivering on the promise of the Paris Agreement.
Walmart is “bypassing the politics” to focus on driving down emissions internally and in its supply chain, said the company's Chief Sustainability Officer Kathleen McLaughlin, “In light of the withdrawal from the Paris accord…I wouldn’t say the political winds are favorable to the climate agenda right now... But we’re trying to make it practical and favorable just from a common-sense point of view.”
Google also signed agreements in recent weeks for wind-generated electricity. The cumulative 536 megawatts Google purchased from U.S. wind farms in November puts the company’s total renewable energy procurement to date above 3 gigawatts.
To date 2017 will be the second-best year for corporate renewable deals, according to the Rocky Mountain Institute’s Business Renewables Center.
The next frontier of corporate purchasing: Smaller buyers.