Companies and Climate: less than 0.2% committed, how to leverage them?

There is no less than 45 508 companies listed on the stock exchange worldwide, out of 115 million companies in total on this Earth, which accounts for 1 company for every 60 people, according to the United Nations. It is estimated that, among the big companies, less than 1000 have a proactive commitment to fighting climate change, and that less than 100 are engaged in a partial or total CO2 offsetting program. Put together, it means that less than 0.2% of the big companies are engaged in a program designed to whether reduce or fully compensate their CO2 emissions.  

The issue today is therefore to urge more companies to engage in climatic action. To do so, there is a need for greater promotion of the companies that are already committed, in order to show the benefits induced by climate action, not only for our ecosystem but also for the company itself. Having pioneers’ actions as well as the benefits of these actions acknowledged is the cornerstone for more commitment, by a greater number of companies.  

As an example, Nespresso France has been implementing a CO2 compensation program with PUR Projet, related to its coffee production via an Insetting program (integrated carbon offsetting), which consists in planting trees within the crops where the company sources its products. These 500 000 yearly planted trees allow the sequestration of the equivalent in carbon generated by both the production and the distribution of the coffee, as well as packaging-related emissions. On top of that, these trees generate multiple ecosystem services for soils, water and biodiversity, while simultaneously allowing farmers to diversify their income. They protect coffee crops in case of extreme climatic events such as heavy rains or droughts, thereby securing the supply in quality and quantity for Nespresso.

Therefore, not only has the climate action of Nespresso a positive environmental impact on its environmental footprint, but also on the sustainability of its economic model. Such an approach and the benefits it entails should be underlined to all economic actors in order for them to better understand the mutual dependency between their economic future and the climatic and ecosystemic stakes.

Tree nursery Colombia
Tree nursery in Colombia, 2014 – Copyrights: Christian Lamontagne

Even if these pioneering approaches somehow remain limited, and do not entirely dispel the climatic issue, they should be imitated and propagated as much as possible. We often witness critics and vivid debates upon the imperfection of these approaches, and there is no arguing that it is healthy to remain vigilant and to set high ambitions. However, critics often trigger inactivity and status quo, in particular when it comes to little to not engaged stakeholders.

For all these reasons, the time has come to support nascent initiatives, even when imperfect or of limited-scale. To go from 0.2 to 2 and then 20% of engaged companies, one must encourage new initiatives, like newborns, that you would encourage and help grow in the long term. What is at stake is everybody’s commitment, at scale, for Climate, and the future of all of us.

Tristan Lecomte
Co-founder of PUR Projet


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