by Staff Writers
New York (AFP) Sept 23, 2015
Major US companies including Walmart, Starbucks and Nike vowed Wednesday to move completely to renewable energy in the long term as part of a global effort against climate change.
The non-profit Climate Group announced the latest additions to its campaign during a week of events in New York that aim to build momentum for a global agreement to fight climate change.
Consumer goods giants Johnson & Johnson and Procter & Gamble, and investment banking titan Goldman Sachs also joined the year-old effort.
"Our mission is to help people live longer, healthier and happier lives. We understand the intrinsic link between a healthy environment and human health," said Alex Gorsky, CEO of Johnson & Johnson, whose products range from bandages to pain relief capsules.
Renewable energy sources such as the sun and wind result in no emissions of carbon dioxide, the key factor behind the planet's rising temperatures that scientists fear will cause worsening scarcities and disasters.
The Climate Group's initiative, dubbed RE100, does not set a deadline for companies to meet the goal or spell out consequences if they do not.
European firms in particular have faced legal requirements to curb emissions under the Kyoto Protocol, which the United States shunned.
Several companies that joined the RE100 initiative have faced criticism for aspects of their businesses.
Walmart is known for its hostility to labor unions but has been active on climate change, saying that environmental efforts are critical to maintaining low costs.
Walmart has already set a goal of shifting entirely to renewables, which it says now supply about 24 percent of the retailer's electricity.
The Climate Group said that 36 major businesses now belong to the initiative.
Companies that previously joined include food giants Mars and Nestle, Ikea, H&M, electronics maker Philips and Indian software company Infosys.
The announcement comes on the heels of a study that found that institutions worth $2.6 trillion have renounced fossil fuels, sharply up from a year earlier.
But national plans submitted ahead of a year-end conference in Paris, which is aimed at drafting a new global climate agreement, show that the planet remains well off from a goal of limiting temperature rises to 2.0 degrees Celsius (3.6 Fahrenheit) above pre-industrial levels.
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