An open letter to the CEOs of corporate America

Climate Policy Leadership
2 min readOct 15, 2019


The climate crisis is escalating before our eyes, causing unprecedented damage and threatening our children’s future. The costs of unabated climate change — already in the hundreds of billions of dollars — will grow to trillions, destabilizing the global economy and hurting nearly every business and family.

To limit the worst impacts of climate change, we need to achieve net-zero emissions — producing no more climate pollution than can be removed — in the United States and other industrialized nations by 2050, and worldwide soon thereafter. That’s the goal consistent with what science says is necessary.

A growing number of businesses recognize that a warming planet is a significant risk to their operations, value chains, customers, employees, shareholders and communities. We commend the many companies that have set science-based targets to cut climate pollution and encourage others to join them. In addition to these voluntary actions by companies, strong public policy is essential to create a level playing field and reduce climate pollution at the pace and scale needed. Given their power to shape public policy, businesses have a vital role to play in moving smart and effective climate policies forward.

Therefore, we urge all businesses to adopt a science-based climate policy agenda in line with the recommendations of the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change. Executing this agenda means
that businesses:

· Advocate for policies at the national, subnational and/or sectoral level that are consistent with achieving net-zero emissions by 2050;

· Align their trade associations’ climate policy advocacy to be consistent with the goal of net-zero emissions by 2050; and

· Allocate advocacy spending to advance climate policies, not obstruct them.

We also recommend robust disclosure of the above actions to ensure transparency and demonstrate leadership, as well as strong corporate governance to enable sustained, strategic and effective engagement in climate policy. Our expectations on corporate climate lobbying are aligned with those expressed recently by 200 investors with $6.5 trillion in assets under management.

As leaders of organizations that engage with businesses on environmental issues, we call on all companies to embrace and execute a science-based climate policy agenda, starting today. Now is the time to create a future that will protect our air, water and land, preserve ecosystems, improve children’s health and create millions of jobs in a strong and resilient economy.


Aron Cramer, BSR

Bob Perciasepe, C2ES

Bruno Sarda, CDP North America

Mindy Lubber, Ceres

M. Sanjayan, Conservation International

Fred Krupp, Environmental Defense Fund

Amy Davidsen, The Climate Group

Sally Jewell, The Nature Conservancy

Kenneth Kimmell, Union of Concerned Scientists

Andrew Steer, World Resources Institute

Carter Roberts, World Wildlife Fund

This letter also appeared as a full-page ad in the New York Times Business section on Tuesday, October 15th.



Climate Policy Leadership

Climate policy advocacy is an essential element of corporate sustainability leadership.