Since the beginning of the movement toward climate activism, many changes affecting big corporations have been triggered by legislation and science. Environmental scientists continually uncover new complications caused by climate change, and while President Obama continues to call for regulatory changes—namely to cut carbon emissions—Congress has put these efforts on hold by working to overturn many of his requests to implement tougher restrictions.
This standstill may lead one to believe that efforts toward reaching a more environmentally-friendly future are stalled, yet that is not the case. In fact, corporate America is beginning to get ahead of these debates by reducing their emissions with or without the passing of Obama’s regulatory measures.
According to a study conducted by Calvert Investment, Ceres, David Gardiner & Associates, and the World Wildlife Fund, 43 percent of Fortune 500 companies have independently set goals to reduce greenhouse gas emissions, become more energy efficient, or secure greener energy to fuel their business- and many of these businesses report saving large sums of money due to their efforts.
Former governor of New Jersey and former administrator of the Environmental Protection Agency Christine Todd Whitman stated, “These companies make it their mission to reduce their carbon footprint because it is making good business sense.”
However, what about the other 57 percent of the Fortune 500? For many, they are trapped by subsidies which are making fossil-fuel power sources cheaper, allowing them to focus on other needs within the corporation.
There is no denying that a decision by U.S. and state policymakers would push even more companies to more sustainable measures; however, the power of the public and shareholders should not go unnoticed. Many companies are creating benchmarks per the request of these shareholders who push the companies to lessen their environmental impact.
Even if environmental legislation remains unspecified, it is clear that big corporations are beginning to move toward environmental responsibility regardless. Though tougher restrictions on emissions may push more corporations toward solutions faster, the trend has already begun, and continues to spread. Corporate America is blazing the trail, proving that being environmentally responsible and fiscally sound can happen simultaneously.