This Week in Sustainability: Why Businesses Should Cut Carbon Emissions and the Private Sector’s Sustainability Role

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This Week in Sustainability: Why Businesses Should Cut Carbon Emissions and the Private Sector’s Sustainability Role

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clip_image002Energy & Environment covered a new report from the World Wildlife Fund (WWF) and the Carbon Disclosure Project (CDP) that indicates U.S. businesses can achieve huge savings on energy bills by decreasing carbon emissions by 3 percent annually through 2020. But the report also reveals it will be much harder to meet carbon reduction goals over the long term if businesses do not begin cutting emissions and other greenhouse gases by the end of the decade. U.S. businesses must reduce their carbon emissions by 25 percent by 2020 to prevent the planet from warming by 2 degrees Celsius from preindustrial levels. But there’s good news: hundreds of U.S. companies, like Microsoft, are already investing in carbon reduction programs. That’s what we implemented our carbon fee to incentivize business groups at Microsoft to minimize their carbon emissions and promote energy efficiency.

Also this week, Environmental Leader discussed how the private sector should promote sustainability solutions needed to avoid environmental, social and economic disruptions. Research from GlobeScan and SustainAbility found that people have low expectations for the government to lead on sustainability issues. Notably, the same survey found that people look more to other institutions, particularly businesses, are called on to fill the gap. One reason why is because private sector has both the ability and a reason to play a leadership role in sustainability through what the report calls “extended leadership,” which includes attributes like ambitious and concrete goals and active advocacy functions. The report also indicates sustainable development is no small task. But while reshaping whole economic systems to better support sustainability will be a significant undertaking, it will lay the foundation for future innovation and growth to occur within universal limits.

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