The Interfaith Center on Corporate Responsibility, a coalition of faith and values investors who actively engage companies on environmental, social and governance issues, is strongly urging President Trump to honor the U.S. commitments to the COP21 global climate agreement. We view continued participation in COP21 as not only critical to maintaining the competitiveness of our economy, but as a moral imperative and a statement of American values.
ICCR member organizations have been pressing companies to reduce GHG emissions proven to contribute to the acceleration of climate change for nearly four decades. The 2016 Paris Climate Agreement, the first-ever global response to the climate challenges already experienced in many parts of the world, was hailed as a practical framework that would guide countries in the development of science-based action plans to begin to combat dangerous planetary warming. Moreover, as our country was seen as one of the principal advocates of the Paris Climate Accord, we experienced a deep sense of pride in its ratification and believe America’s continued leadership is crucial to ensuring its full implementation by all countries.
The business community largely supports the Paris Agreement and the relevant U.S. commitments within it, as an effective mechanism to drive global GHG emission reductions that would help companies maintain their competitiveness and protect operations and supply chains from climate impacts. Forward-looking companies are already transitioning to clean, renewable energy in recognition of the clear business benefits it affords: a reduction in climate-related business risk, cheaper energy sources and the prospect of participating in the market-expanding opportunities of a new green economy.
The renewable energy sector, including wind and solar, is creating jobs at 12 times the rate of the rest of the economy. If we were to withdraw from the climate agreement and postpone urgently needed emissions reductions, we will only be increasing our costs later, while ceding the lead on clean tech to China to the detriment of U.S. business.
We applaud the advocacy of business leaders who have stepped out publicly on the importance of the Paris Climate Agreement and urge other companies to join them in voicing their support.
As investors we are clear about the value of U.S. participation in this agreement to provide the needed guideposts and accountability mechanisms that will help stabilize markets and safeguard shareholder value. Importantly, as people of faith we are cognizant of what is at stake should we neglect our responsibility to address the climate threat.
The world is looking to us to lead on climate policy, and robust U.S. participation in the COP21 climate agreement is the most essential demonstration of that leadership.
About the Interfaith Center on Corporate Responsibility (ICCR)
Celebrating its 46th year, ICCR is the pioneer coalition of shareholder advocates who view the management of their investments as a catalyst for social change. Its 300 member organizations comprise faith communities, socially responsible asset managers, unions, pensions, NGOs and other socially responsible investors with combined assets of over $200 billion. ICCR members engage hundreds of corporations annually in an effort to foster greater corporate accountability. www.iccr.org