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GCAS: 400 Investors, Salesforce & Friends 'Step Up' to Ensure Climate Turning Point by 2020

Image credit: John Unwin/Unsplash

Today, among a flurry of big announcements at the Global Climate Action Summit (GCAS) in San Francisco, Salesforce announced its leadership in the creation of the Step Up Declaration and strategic corporate commitments to help catalyze a climate turning point by 2020.

Following a global challenge by Christiana Figueres, Convenor of the Mission 2020 challenge to the technology sector to "step up" climate action and drive down their company's carbon emissions by 2020, Salesforce partnered with Mission 2020 to establish the Step Up Declaration – a new alliance committed to harnessing the power of Fourth Industrial Revolution technologies to help reduce emissions across all economic sectors. Salesforce was the first company to sign the pledge and is now joined by 20 other tech giants — including Autodesk, Bloomberg, BT, Cisco, Ericksson, HP and HPE, Lyft and WeWork — who have signed and made their own climate commitments.

"The existential threat we face requires everyone to expand their ambition; and Salesforce is not only stepping up its own climate action, it's pushing other companies to do the same," said California Governor Jerry Brown.

"Everyone has a right to prosper, and if emissions do not begin their rapid decline by 2020, the world's most vulnerable people will suffer even more from the devastating impacts of climate change," Figueres said. "I am proud of the work we did with Salesforce developing the Step Up Declaration to align companies to raise ambition, scale up our actions and move forward faster together to help turn the tide on the devastating impacts of carbon emissions."

Today, Salesforce also announced its own Step Up commitments, including signing onto the Science Based Targets Initiative, partnering with its top suppliers to set their own emissions reduction targets, and expanding its green real estate strategy. Salesforce makes these commitments on the heels of announcing its largest renewable energy agreement to date, which put the company on track to achieve 100 percent renewable energy by 2022.

And speaking of stepping up …

Nearly 400 investors with $32 trillion in assets step up action on climate change

Another GCAS launch is The Investor Agenda, which will support investors in accelerating and scaling up the actions that are critical to tackling climate change and achieving the goals of the Paris Agreement. Its launch also demonstrates the significant momentum already evident, with 392 investors with US $32 trillion in assets collectively under management, using The Investor Agenda to highlight climate action they are already taking and making new commitments1.

The Investor Agenda provides a way for investors to directly report actions they are taking, and scale up their commitment to act, across four key focus areas: Investment, Corporate Engagement, Investor Disclosure and Policy Advocacy. The Investor Agenda will make it easy for investors, businesses, policymakers and other stakeholders to see who has taken voluntary action and which initiatives they have committed to.

The Investor Agenda’s four focus areas are supported by the global investor community, which includes the Asia Investor Group on Climate Change, CDP, Ceres, the Investor Group on Climate Change, the Institutional Investor Group on Climate Change, Principles for Responsible Investment and UNEP Finance Initiative. These organizations will produce an annual report on the level of investor support for the actions and initiatives promoted by The Investor Agenda, and the outcomes that have been achieved since the soft launch.

“Investors are showing great leadership to promote climate action in multiple fronts. Their efforts to meet the shortfall in the financial resources required to deliver the Paris Agreement goals, and further building on engagement with high-emitting sectors are a valuable contribution,” said Patricia Espinosa, Executive Secretary of the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC) in welcoming the launch. “Yet we believe many more opportunities exist. The Investor Agenda offers a clear path to scale up investor action, which is essential to meet the needs in every region of the world to address climate change. It gives investors multiple opportunities to continue to demonstrate their willingness to become part of the transformation that will lead us to a more cleaner, greener, sustainable future for all.”

The potential of the Investor Agenda to deliver change is strengthened by the collaboration and global reach of its founding partner organizations. Through momentum captured by The Investor Agenda to date, institutional investors, asset owners and managers, and pension funds are making significant impact across the focus areas.

  • Investment highlights 120 investors pursuing new and existing investments in low-carbon and climate-resilient portfolios, funds, strategies or assets, such as renewable energy and energy efficiency projects; phasing out investments in coal; and integrating climate change into portfolio analysis and decision-making.
  • Policy Advocacy highlights 345 institutional investors with US $30 trillion in assets who are urging governments to implement the Paris Agreement and enhance their climate policy ambitions by 2020. The full policy statement includes calls for bolder action from governments including phase out of thermal coal power worldwide, greater investment in the low-carbon transition and improving climate-related financial disclosures.
  • Corporate Engagement highlights 650 investors with US $87 trillion in assets backing the CDP’s environmental disclosure request; and 296 investors from 29 countries with US $31 trillion in assets that are signatories to Climate Action 100+. This investor-led initiative engages the world’s largest corporate greenhouse-gas emitters and asks them to curb emissions to achieve the goals of the Paris Agreement.
  • Investor Disclosure highlights the more than 60 investors committed to reporting in line with the Task Force on Climate-related Financial Disclosure (TCFD) recommendations. This is a sizeable portion of total finance sector signatories reported by the TCFD, but also illustrates room for growth in expected submissions of activity, as more investors participate in The Investor Agenda.

392 investors specifically reported new information or have committed to policy advocacy activity under the Investor Agenda. Other examples above illustrate broader participation in related initiatives2. Examples of specific investor actions in line with the focus areas above are highlighted in The Investor Agenda Fact Sheet.

The total number of investors taking action in line with The Investor Agenda is expected to grow over coming months and years. Submissions will remain open for investors through The Investor Agenda website.

“Progress is on the agenda of the investment community, and today’s announcement is hugely important, but this is just the beginning of an extraordinary, economy-wide transformation to low-carbon that we must achieve within a generation,” said Christiana Figueres, convener of Mission 2020. “We have an acute need for speed. The shift in investment – away from high-carbon towards low-carbon – needs to exponentially increase, and investors can now focus on scaling up financial flows to enable greater national ambition by 2020.”

1The ‘nearly 400’ refers to those investors that are taking action in line with one or more of the four focus areas of the Investor Agenda. 392 investors have specifically reported information via The Investor Agenda website.

2Initiatives, not factored into the total figure of 392 investors taking action include CDP’s environmental disclosure request and signatories to Climate Action 100+. This was to avoid potential duplication in calculating participation and capture only those investors actively volunteering information on action taken.


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