By Lara Dickinson, Executive Director, OSC2 and Climate Collaborative Co-Founder
This September has been packed on the global climate action landscape—Climate Week NYC is taking place as I write this, two weeks ago we convened an afternoon of climate programming at Expo East for the natural products industry, and bigger than all of this, this month California became the epicenter of the global dialogue on climate change as the state hosted the Global Climate Action Summit (GCAS) from September 12-14.
GCAS brought together global leaders—representing businesses, investors, cities, states, citizens and others—to deepen their commitments and challenge each other to do more to address climate change in the biggest show of action since the Paris Agreement was signed in December 2015.
Amid the cascade of commitments announced during the week, some common themes emerged around building a strong economic case for action, developing pathways to deeper climate collaboration across industry, and the critical need to bring social justice issues into the climate space. Relevant to our industry, there was also a substantive focus on the potential big climate wins afforded by better land stewardship.
We encourage you to take a look at the range of commitments seen during the week and explore some broader summaries of the summit. Below we’ve highlighted a few things we thought would be of interest to the Climate Collaborative community:
Communities, cities, countries, and CEOs declared hundreds of new and ambitious commitments:
- 100 leaders announced carbon neutrality goals, including Governor Brown who moved up the goal date of Carbon Neutrality to 2045 for California.
- Salesforce CEO, Marc Benioff, announced they will move to 100% renewable energy by 2022 and reduce supply chain emission by working with suppliers that make up half of their emission to set emissions reduction targets.
- Kaiser CEO, Bernard Tyson linked the human health impact of climate change to their patient load in the US. He stated “There is an intersection between environment and total health. How we eat and sleep directly affect health. The environment also directly affects a person’s health. We know from studies and heat maps, that it affects mental health and the body (lungs, breathing, trauma, etc). Kaiser committed to 180-megawatt power purchase agreement that will help meet its goal of carbon neutrality by 2020.
- The State of California just signed SB100, setting a 100% clean energy goal by 2045. We’re excited to see the innovations and partnerships that working toward this goal creates in the state.
Land Stewardship was front and center—with the potential for land management, food production, and forest conservation to deliver up to 30% of climate solutions by 2030 referenced across the summit:
- Walmart announced they are building a platform within their Project Gigaton to source palm oil and paper and pulp from jurisdictions with no deforestation.
- Their supplier partner, Unilever is working for more than 148,000 acres in Malaysia to be certified by the Roundtable on Sustainable Palm Oil in the next seven years.
- Nine of the world’s leading philanthropic foundations announced their intent to commit at least $459 million through 2022 to the protection, restoration and expansion of forests and lands worldwide—the announcement underlined indigenous peoples’ and traditional communities’ collective land rights.
- Ecuador’s Inter-institutional Committee set a vision toward reducing deforestation from palm oil production in the Amazon by 2025 by increasing production of palm oil on existing cultivation areas, thus, decreasing pressure on remaining forests in the country and building capacities of smallholder producers on sustainable management.
We were happy to see some of the Climate Collaborative community at the summit as well. Chris Adamo, Vice President
Federal and Industry Affairs of Danone North America, spoke at the Low Emissions Solutions Conference and shared their cost-plus financing model with local farmers, wherein they guarantee a long-term margin on contracts. It’s a way that the company is championing local famers and working toward building stronger agricultural practices into their supply chain. Elysa Hammond of Clif Bar and Company spoke at the We Are Still In Day and covered the company’s fabulous work supporting organic research across the country.
The week was full of leadership and commitments to action. The conference was large and global, and our job will be to translate the momentum, insights and expertise into specific best practices and resources for the natural products industry. We hope you’ll join us as we continue to build the climate movement in our industry–were proud to reach 300 commitments to action as the summit was happening. Visit www.climatecollaborative.com to see the latest companies to join our community!