US apparel giant VF Corp and department store retailer Kohl's are just two of a further 73 companies to have joined the White House pledge to address climate change and reduce their carbon footprints.

In an update late yesterday (30 November), the White House announced the new signatories to the American Business Act on Climate Pledge, bringing the total number to 154, demonstrating their support for the conclusion of a climate change agreement in Paris this month. 

VF Corp has pledged to use 100% renewable energy by 2025 at its owned and operated facilities, and to develop science-based goals to support additional emission reductions. The company said it is on track to meet its commitment to reduce absolute carbon emissions by 5% by end 2015. 

"We believe we have the responsibility to do our part to mitigate the impacts of climate change and preserve the health of our planet for future generations," VF Corp said, adding that it will continue to invest in energy efficiency and improve energy productivity. 

Currently, 85% of the group's 1,480 retail stores use LED lighting, and VF said it will continue the construction and utilisation of LEED-certified buildings globally.

Kohl's, meanwhile, has committed to focus on conserving energy and driving down usage with a 20% reduction in kWh-per-square-foot energy intensity by 2020 (baseline 2008). With over 990 Energy Star certified buildings, the company said it is well on its way to meeting that reduction goal.

It has also pledged to reduce water consumption through the installation of water-conserving plumbing fixtures, native and adaptive landscaping, and weather tracking irrigation controllers. As a participant in the water pilot of the Department of Energy's Better Buildings Challenge, Kohl's aims to reduce water use by 20% across its portfolio by 2020 (baseline 2008). It would also like to maintain an 85% operational recycling rate across stores, distribution facilities, and corporate offices. 

"With over 160 on-site solar arrays in 13 states, and off-site procurement of wind and solar energy, Kohl's continually searches for innovative solutions to incorporate renewable energy," the company said. "2015 will mark our sixth consecutive year of carbon neutrality. Beyond direct renewable energy sources, in 2016 Kohl's will continue to procure carbon and Renewable Energy Credits to offset 100% annual carbon footprint."

VF Corp and Kohl's join a number of apparel firms that have signed up to the pledge, including Nike, Levi Strauss & Co, and Wal-Mart

Apparel firms joint White House climate pledge

The Climate Action Plan, when fully implemented, is expected to cut nearly 6bn tons of carbon pollution through 2030.

President Barack Obama is this week in Paris where he is meeting with around 150 world leaders at the UN climate conference - COP21 - to discuss combating climate change on a global scale. They will try to reach a deal within two weeks aimed at reducing global carbon emissions.