Charlotte-area companies Sealed Air and Ingersoll Rand have pledged to lower carbon emissions to meet the Paris climate agreement even after President Donald Trump pulled the U.S. out of the pledge last week.
More than 900 business leaders signed an open letter to the international community promising to “take forceful action” and ensure that the U.S. remains a global leader in reducing carbon emissions. The businesses account for a total annual revenue of $1.4 trillion, according to a news release.
“The Trump administration’s announcement undermines a key pillar in the fight against climate change and damages the world's ability to avoid the most dangerous and costly effects of climate change,” the statement reads. “Importantly, it is also out of step with what is happening in the United States.”
North Carolina politicians who signed the letter include Gov. Roy Cooper, Charlotte Mayor Jennifer Roberts and Attorney General Josh Stein. Leaders of Davidson College and Wake Forest University also signed the statement.
Sealed Air, which makes Bubble Wrap and is based in Charlotte, has had a long-term goal of reducing greenhouse gas emissions for years, spokesman Ken Aurichio said. By signing the letter, the company wanted to reassure its stakeholders that it will continue to work toward that goal regardless of political changes.
“A lot of our business is about mitigating climate change for other companies by using less packaging and reducing food waste,” Aurichio said. “It’s great for the environment and our business.”
Sealed Air is using new manufacturing processes to use less energy and water, Aurichio said.
Industrial company Ingersoll Rand, which bases its North American operations in Davidson, has also made a long-term pledge to reduce its greenhouse gas emissions, according to a June 2 statement.
“We believe climate action is a global issue – one to which our customers around the world are demanding solutions, regardless of policy or regulation,” CEO Michael Lamach wrote in the statement. “We will continue to innovate and provide solutions that our customers require, and we are committed to strengthening our climate resilience.”
Signed in 2015 by 195 nations, the Paris climate agreement was intended to unite global leaders in combating climate change. Trump said the pact imposed unfair environmental standards on American businesses and he wanted to negotiate a better deal for the U.S.
In May, Bank of America CEO Brian Moynihan signed a letter urging Trump to stay in the agreement, but he hasn’t spoken out since Trump’s withdrawal announcement.
Taylor Blatchford: 704-358-5354, @blatchfordtr