Leading global CEOs came together in Beijing on March 23 to launch a new campaign encouraging the international business community to take additional steps toward zero-carbon and zero-waste business practices.
The Race to Zero campaign highlights measurable actions that companies can adopt to reduce greenhouse gas emissions and waste in their direct operations and supply chains, particularly in China. A letter jointly signed by companies supporting the Race to Zero initiative was released at the launch ceremony, calling for more global businesses to join. Their goal is to inspire sweeping action among global businesses to pledge to new resource reduction commitments by the campaign’s end in Oct. 2018.
The campaign was sponsored by the U.S.-China CEO Council for Sustainable Urbanization, co-convened by the Paulson Institute, a non-partisan and non-profit “think and do” tank jointly founded in 2011 by the 74th U.S. Secretary of the Treasury Henry M. Paulson, Jr., and the China Center for International Economic Exchanges, a comprehensive association led by Zeng Peiyan, former vice premier of China. The mission of the Paulson Institute is to promote international economic research and exchange and to provide consulting services.
To date, 22 global companies, including Alibaba, Broad, Honeywell, HP, Hyatt Hotels, IBM, TCL, Vanke, Wahaha and Walmart, have pledged new emissions and waste reductions, committing to actions such as adopting science-based targets, switching to low-carbon energy sources, and working with suppliers to increase resource efficiencies in their factories and properties.
Honeywell, a Fortune 100 software-industrial company founded in 1895 that delivers industry specific solutions, including aerospace and automotive products and services, is one of the 22. It announced at the event that as part of the Race to Zero, it pledges to reduce China-specific greenhouse gas emissions by 10 percent per dollar of revenue by 2022 from 2016 levels.
“Pledging to Race to Zero with our China-specific goal aligns well with the nation’s vision to build a beautiful China,” said William Yu, vice president and general manager of Honeywell Performance Materials and Technologies Asia Pacific.
Yu added that environmental protection gives companies a driving force and business opportunities, rather than pressures, and that it is what responsible companies should do.
Currently, Honeywell has voluntarily implemented more than 100 energy efficiency projects in China, and is promoting waste reduction at each of its facilities. By next year, the company expects to achieve an additional global reduction from 2013 levels of 10 percent in GHG emissions per dollar of revenue.
Julie Walton, head of strategy of the Paulson Institute, pointed out that there may be a misconception that energy conservation and emissions reduction point to increased costs, but that in fact they make businesses more competitive in the future.
“If we do not take action or shoulder the responsibility of leading companies, it will go against our long-term development,” said Zhang Yue, chairman of Broad Group, stressing the significance of taking action to conserve energy and reduce emissions.
Partners of the Race to Zero campaign, including We Mean Business, KPMG, SynTao and World Wildlife Fund China, will provide technical assistance and support to companies that have pledged a new commitment.
“Environmental stewardship is a win-win-win. It’s good for the environment, for companies and for consumers,” Paulson Institute chairman Henry M. Paulson, Jr. said, highlighting the benefits of the joint effort.
“Working with hundreds of companies throughout my career, I’ve observed that the strongest are those that do more with less, invest wisely for the future, and are responsible actors toward people and the planet. This is a fundamental idea behind the Race to Zero,” he said.