GCAS 2018: How global companies are taking action on climate change

20 Sep 2018
3 min read
UN Youth Envoy Jayathma Wickramanayake

The Global Climate Action Summit took place in San Francisco in September. 

Organised by California Governor Jerry Brown as his final act before leaving office, the two-day event was designed to be both a showcase of California’s leadership in mitigating climate change, but also a chance for businesses and organisations around the world to step up their commitments to tackling climate change.

Actor Harrison Ford at GCAS

With keynote speeches from former US Vice President Al Gore, Hollywood superstar Harrison Ford, business titan Paul Polman, CEO of Unilever, Executive Secretary of UN Climate Change Patricia Espinosa and UN Youth Envoy Jayathma Wickramanayake (pictured), the Summit saw a whole lot of hype and – more importantly for the planet – plenty of commitments to taking action on climate change.

Here are just some of the announcements that you might now have heard of, but that will be making a different to the way we live and how we are saving the planet, compiled by the We Mean Business Coalition.

Electric Vehicles

The IKEA group raised its ambitions on EVs by revealing that all deliveries in 5 major cities – Amsterdam, Los Angeles, New York, Paris and Shanghai – would be made by electric vehicles or through other zero-emission means by 2020.  The company has a target for all its last-mile deliveries to be by electric vehicles (EV) or other zero-emission means by 2025.

A goal to create 3.5 million new charging points for electric vehicles by 2025 was announced.  There are only 500,000 public chargers across the US, Europe, and China in total today.  Two businesses ChargePoint & EVBox are leading this drive for change. 

Clif Bar and Delta Electronics committed to help drive the change to electric vehicles, alongside new cities and states.

Read more about the financial and Performance Benefits of Electric Cars.

Zero Carbon Cities

Tesco, Sky and Siemens are amongst a group of eleven leading businesses who have partnered with the Mayor of London, Sadiq Khan, on work to make London a zero-carbon city by 2050.

Zero Carbon Buildings

Salesforce, Signify along with a host of other companies, cities and subnational governments committed to owning, operating an developing net-zero carbon buildings by 2030.

Find out more about making your home more sustainable.

Zero Carbon Companies

Indian company Mahindra Group plans to go carbon neutral by 2040 – revealed by Anand Mahindra, chair of the USD 20.7 billion company.

Just Transition

A ‘just transition’ is a framework that has been developed by the trade union movement to encompass a range of social interventions needed to secure workers’ jobs and livelihoods when economies are shifting to tackle climate change.

Enel, Orsted, Autodesk, Safaricom, Unilever – took pledges toward a just transition, declaring that all jobs in the new climate economy need to be decent.

Sustainable Forestry

Walmart and Unilever announced forest sustainability initiatives; with Unilever committed to supporting work in Sabah, Malaysia as part of the strategy to achieving a deforestation free supply chain and further reducing emissions.

Walmart revealed that its key emission reduction initiative, Project Gigaton, will take action in this area.

While seemingly quite technical and only related to businesses at first, these announcements and the others made at the Global Action Climate Summit will filter down to our every part of our lives, from the homes we live in to the car we drive to the offices we work in.

In the face of these massive multinational companies making big announcements and communicating about climate change, you may wonder what individuals can do to make a difference in fighting climate change.  That’s why One Home is an essential resource and shines a light on how you can make positive changes you can make to live more sustainably.


The information in this article was correct at the time of writing and is provided for guidance only. Please see the full disclaimer in our terms and conditions.

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