C2ES’s Business Environmental Leadership Council (BELC) was created in 1998 with the premise that business engagement is critical for developing practical and ambitious solutions to climate change. Businesses play a key role in transitioning to a low carbon climate resilient future by transforming how they run their operations; how they engage with their suppliers, customers, and communities; and how they participate in domestic and international policy.
It will take action from companies across all industry sectors to accelerate the transition to a thriving, resilient, and just net-zero economy. Companies that proactively incorporate climate and clean energy considerations into their overall business strategy will gain sustained competitive advantage over their peers.
The BELC includes 42 mostly Fortune 500 companies from sectors representing much of the real economy in the United States, with combined revenues of nearly $3 trillion and 3.7 million employees, and representing approximately 8 percent of total U.S. greenhouse gas emissions.
Member companies take steps to reduce their own greenhouse gas emissions, have set or are in the process of setting ambitious climate targets for their companies, make tangible investments in climate solutions, and engage on public policy to advance decarbonization and climate resilience.
Whereas member companies have different targets and different approaches to reducing emissions, they all support the broader objective of significantly reducing greenhouse gas emissions in line with the Paris Agreement.
Through their actions, as industry climate leaders, BELC members can help mainstream expectations for broader cross-sectoral business engagement on climate change.
C2ES works with BELC members to identify the policies and technologies that will enable companies to meet their climate goals and accelerate the transition to a net-zero economy. Through a range of policy and research initiatives, we also engage with a wider set of companies across sectors that are in various stages of developing their approaches to reducing climate impacts.
As an independent, nonpartisan organization, C2ES is solely responsible for its policy positions, programs, and publications, and does not speak on behalf of the BELC or its members. In turn, C2ES recognizes that each member has a responsibility to the interests of its stakeholders, including its shareholders. While individual companies determine their own views on specific policies, they are united with C2ES in the belief that robust and durable policies are needed to advance ambitious action on climate.
The BELC started in 1998 with 13 members and now includes more than 40 companies from sectors representing much of the real economy in the United States.
BELC companies span the economy, from high technology to diversified manufacturing; from oil and gas to transportation; from utilities to chemicals.
BELC companies have combined revenues of nearly $3 trillion and 3.7 million employees, and represent about 8 percent of total U.S. greenhouse gas emissions.
BELC companies are reducing their own greenhouse gas emissions and building resilience to climate change. Members support robust and durable policies needed to advance ambitious action on climate, and they agree to adhere to the BELC Principles noted below.
BELC members adhere to the following guiding principles:
Our climate objectives are guided by the latest scientific consensus as articulated by the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) and other leading scientific studies, including that climate change caused by human activity is already affecting every region across the globe. Limiting the rise in global temperatures to 1.5 degrees Celsius above preindustrial levels requires deep reductions in greenhouse gas emissions by 2030 and achieving net-zero carbon dioxide emissions globally by midcentury.
Climate change is a global challenge that ultimately requires global action and collaboration among all governments, the private sector, and civil society, as seen in the binding commitments made by countries under the Paris Agreement on climate change. We support the goals of the Paris Agreement and efforts to achieve them.
We have set or are in the process of setting greenhouse gas emission reduction goals consistent with the broader aim of achieving net-zero greenhouse gas emissions economy-wide in the United States by no later than 2050 and with the objectives of the Paris Agreement on climate change. We are taking concrete steps to implement those goals by cutting emissions in our operations; increasing investment in low- and zero-greenhouse gas emitting technologies, practices, and products; working with stakeholders in our value chain to further reduce their emissions; and publicly reporting our emissions using commonly accepted tools.
We support the target in the United States’ Nationally Determined Contribution (NDC) of reducing greenhouse gas emissions 50 to 52 percent below 2005 levels by 2030, as well as the goal of achieving net-zero emissions in the United States by no later than 2050. We will identify and advocate for policies, as appropriate and aligned with our priorities that help to meet those targets, and we will encourage those business associations in which we hold memberships to also advance those policies. A variety of policies across the economy will be necessary to help drive innovation and enable the transition to a low-carbon economy, including mandatory policies; flexible, market-based programs and incentives; and a broad suite of sectoral approaches.
Efforts that foster resilience and adaptation, such as investments and policies, are necessary – especially to protect those communities who are, or will be, most exposed to a changing climate and at greatest risk from climate impacts. We believe that companies have a role to play in building resilience to climate change for their own businesses and in supporting climate resilience in the communities where they operate.
For climate solutions to be both effective and durable, we believe they must promote fair, equitable, and just outcomes for all. The benefits of the low carbon transition should be widely shared, especially by disadvantaged communities who are, and have been, marginalized, underserved, and overburdened by pollution and a changing climate. Climate solutions should also benefit communities that have been reliant on fossil fuel extraction and use as the nation transitions to a low carbon economy.