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“Climate Savers” lead the way at annual workshop

In this room we are 19 nationalities, from 15 WWF offices and 20 companies around the world.

I’m at the Climate Savers annual workshop in Mexico City, where global companies come together to discuss how they as a business, can make a difference in the fight against runaway climate change.  This year’s meetings seems particularly relevant,  given last month’s release of the IPCC’s assessment report, which found more than 95% certainty that human activities are the leading cause of climate change.

WWF-Canada working with our Climate Savers partner Fairmont Hotels & Resorts during one of the breakout sessions © WWF 2013

WWF-Canada working with our Climate Savers partner Fairmont Hotels & Resorts during one of the breakout sessions.
© WWF 2013

Climate Savers is WWF’s global program to engage business and demonstrate that emissions reductions and economic growth can go hand-in-hand. Member companies – now numbering 30 – commit to become best in class in reducing greenhouse gas emissions (GHGs), and pledge to influence market or policy developments by promoting their vision, solutions, and achievements. Since the program’s inception in 1999, Climate Savers companies have cumulatively reduced their CO2 emissions by about 100 million tons — the equivalent of taking more than 25 million cars off the road, or roughly 14% of Canada’s 2011 emissions.  Pretty powerful and inspiring stuff!

It’s not easy to join this elite group of companies. Negotiating sector-leading carbon reduction targets and completing the rigorous Climate Savers proposal can take 12 to 18 months of hard work, followed by more hard work implementing  carbon-reducing projects. But members find tremendous business value in reducing their emissions and in working to drive positive environmental change.

Listening to these leading companies talk about their commitments and their definitions of carbon leadership, gives me hope that we will figure out a way to collectively reduce our emissions by the 60-80% required to globally stay below the 2 degree threshold. I’ve heard Johnson and Johnson talk about its heavy investment in renewable energy and fleet initiatives to reduce CO2; Coca-Cola highlight its commitment to reduce the carbon embedded in “the drink in your hand” by 25% throughout its value chain by 2020; and Eneco, a Dutch energy company, describe how it has applied the One Planet concept –to minimize its environmental impact.

I’m impressed!  At a time when we are overwhelmingly behind, (Canada is on track to miss our 2020 reduction target by 50%) Climate Savers companies are leading the charge! The challenge is to spur wide-spread adoption of visionary practices like these throughout the corporate sector to curb greenhouse gas emissions with urgency and ambition.

I feel privileged to say that working with businesses to transition toward a low carbon economy is what my job at WWF is all about. But the real work lies ahead as Climate Savers companies raise the bar within their industries and we all collectively work to inspire leadership action on climate change.  Please help spread the word that the 2 degree threshold is possible and encourage community and political leaders to take action.  If you are within a company , see how you can get your company involved and driving toward environmental leadership.  Our Living Planet@ Work program can help you.