McDonalds, Starbucks and Nike sign Obama climate pledge

A total of 68 companies have signed up to White House agreement to tackle climate change

Climate change roundtable
(Image credit: Aude Guerrucci-Pool/Getty Images)

Some of the world's biggest corporations have signed up to a White House pledge to tackle climate change.

McDonald's, Starbucks, Nike, Johnson & Johnson and Ikea are among 68 companies to have joined the "American Business Act on Climate Change Pledge". The agreement is part of Barack Obama's attempt to corral corporate support for a climate change deal later this year in Paris.

An Obama administration official told the Financial Times that the pledge puts to rest the argument that "the only way to act is to do so by putting more businesses in your private sector at a competitive disadvantage."

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Many of the companies involved say they are also taking concrete environmental action, pledging to reduce carbon emissions by up 50 per cent, cut water use by 80 per cent or switch to renewable energy.

While it is hoped that support from firms with a combined market capitalisation of more than $5trn will boost the chances of a workable agreement, the absence of major oil, gas and energy companies will not go unnoticed.

Last week, ten of the largest oil and gas companies in the world signed a separate accord backing a deal at the Paris talks in December designed to limit global temperature rises to two degrees and commit to action to reduce emissions.

The pledge, signed by the likes of BP, Shell, Chevron and Exxon Mobil, included a promise to invest in technologies such as carbon capture, but "offered few concrete figures or forecasts", the FT notes. It also "drew a lukewarm welcome from the French government hosting the talks and attracted charges of hypocrisy from green groups".

While Obama's focus on climate change has won him praise from Pope Francis, according to the FT, the American president has "drawn scorn from Republicans who say his efforts are unconstitutional and risk hurting US economic competitiveness".

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