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April 14, 2021

Apparel firms urge Biden to set ambitious US climate target

Levi Strauss & Co, H&M Group, Nike Inc, PVH Corp, Ralph Lauren Corporation and VF Corporation are among 310 businesses and investors that have signed an open letter to President Joe Biden indicating their support for the Administration's commitment to climate action, and for setting a federal climate target to reduce emissions.

By Beth Wright

Levi Strauss & Co, H&M Group, Nike Inc, PVH Corp, Ralph Lauren Corporation and VF Corporation are among 310 businesses and investors that have signed an open letter to President Joe Biden indicating their support for the Administration’s commitment to climate action, and for setting a federal climate target to reduce emissions.

The letter was published ahead of the Biden Administration’s announcement of a 2030 emissions reduction target, or Nationally Determined Contribution (NDC) pursuant to the Paris Agreement, at the Leaders Summit on Climate on 22-23 April.

Published yesterday (13 April), it was organised by the We Mean Business coalition and Boston-based sustainability non-profit Ceres.

“To restore the standing of the US as a global leader, we need to address the climate crisis at the pace and scale it demands. Specifically, the US must adopt an emissions reduction target that will place the country on a credible pathway to reach net-zero emissions by 2050. We, therefore, call on you to adopt the ambitious and attainable target of cutting GHG emissions by at least 50% below 2005 levels by 2030,” the document states.

“A bold 2030 target is needed to catalyse a zero-emissions future, spur a robust economic recovery, create millions of well-paying jobs, and allow the US to “build back better” from the pandemic. New investment in clean energy, energy efficiency, and clean transportation can build a strong, more equitable, and more inclusive American economy,” it adds. 

“A 2030 target will also guide the US government’s approach to more sustainable and resilient infrastructure, zero-emissions vehicles and buildings, improved agricultural practices, and durable carbon removal. Finally, the commitment would inspire other industrialised nations to set bold targets of their own.”

Business signatories collectively represent more than US$3 trillion in annual revenue and employ nearly 6m US workers across all 50 states. They range in size from small- and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs) to large multinational corporations, and represent a number of industries.

Investor signatories, meanwhile, collectively represent more than $1 trillion in assets under management and include CalSTRS, the New York State Comptroller, the New York City Comptroller and the California State Controller’s Office, among others.

“The urgency could not be clearer: Climate change poses an existential threat to society and to business. Addressing the climate crisis requires rapid action at an economy-wide scale. That’s why we are calling on the US to commit to science-based greenhouse emissions reductions of at least 50% by 2030,” says Jeffrey Hogue, chief sustainability officer for Levi Strauss & Co.

Anne Kelly, vice president of government relations at Ceres, adds: “A strong national emissions reduction target is just what we need to catalyse a net-zero emissions future and build back a more equitable and inclusive economy. Businesses of all sizes recognise that reducing emissions is vital to keeping the US competitive, and protecting the health and well-being of people and the planet. By setting a strong target, the Biden administration can ensure the US is ready to return to its role as a global climate leader and spur further action from the private sector.”

Click here to read the letter in full. 

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