Members of US business org. IECA disagree with its stance against Paris Agreement

President Trump's withdrawal from the Paris Agreement has faced significant criticism from the business community. In advance of the decision, over one thousand companies publicly declared their support for the Paris Agreement, including numerous "companies within the Fortune 500 that have revenues of over $3 trillion, equivalent to over one-sixth of the entire US economy," according to the Natural Resources Defense Council (NRDC). Following the decision, a coalition of US economic, education, and local government leaders representing cities and states that contribute $6.2 trillion to the U.S. economy committed to continue supporting climate action to meet the Paris Agreement.

Despite this widespread support from the business and investor community, in advance of the decision Industrial Energy Consumers of America (IECA) sent a letter to the White House in opposition to the Paris Agreement, saying it did so on behalf of members and claiming their worth is over $1 trillion.

In its blog post, "Companies Defend Paris Deal Because of Its Economic Benefits", the National Resources Defense Council states that with this letter in opposition to the Paris Agreement, the IECA is "grossly and intentionally exaggerating opposition [by]...falsely leveraging the voice of member companies," many of whom "claim to embrace sustainability."

Business & Human Rights Resource Centre invited several companies named in the blog post as being both members of IECA and supporting sustainability to respond: Eastman, International Paper, Owens Corning, and SABIC.

In its response, Eastman stated that it "supports the continued participation of the United States in the Paris Accord and did not approve the IECA letter...[IECA's] action is so at odds with Eastman's position that we cannot reconcile continued participation in IECA with our commitment to sustinability. As such, this week we discontinued our IECA membership."

Owens Corning, International Paper, and SABIC also stated that they did not approve the IECA's letter opposing the agreement. In its response, Owens Corning expressed that, "We virtually never find ourselves in alignment with all the positions of any industry organization, including IECA in this case, and believe our record is clear on our commitment to sustainability. Owens Corning...supported the Paris Agreement during its development, we have supported it since, and we have not advocated for withdrawal. The U.S. decision to withdraw from the Paris Accord does not change, in any way, Owens Corning's commitment to achieve its greenhouse gas reduction goals...aligned with limiting global warming to less than 2 degrees Celsius."

International Paper stated that, "We were not involved in the development of the [IECA] letter and do not agree with the organization's decision to send it." 

Full responses by Eastman, International Paper, Owens Corning, and SABIC are below. Business & Human Rights Resource Centre also invited Koch Industries/Koch Foundation and Nucor to respond to NRDC's criticisms of their funding of climate denial.  Koch and Nucor have not yet responded; we will indicate here whether they do.

Get RSS feed of these results

All components of this story

Article
13 June 2017

Paris climate accord divides industrial trade group

Author: Dino Grandoni, Washington Post (US)

The Eastman Chemical Company -- one of the largest chemical manufacturers in the United States, which like many U.S. firms supported the Paris climate accord -- discontinued membership in one of the few trade groups that publicly pressed the Trump administration to pull out of the landmark climate deal. Leading up to President Trump's announcement in June, hundreds of businesses publicly pledged support of the Paris accord. But more discreetly, the Industrial Energy Consumers of America told the White House that Paris disadvantaged U.S. manufacturers..."While we valued the IECA's work in areas unrelated to climate change, the organization's action is so at odds with Eastman's position that we also cannot reconcile continued participation in IECA with our commitment to sustainability...As such, this week we discontinued our IECA membership." David A. Golden, a senior vice president and chief legal and sustainability officer at Eastman, wrote to the Business and Human Rights Resource Centre....[which] queried Eastman and other IECA members about their Paris stance following IECA's lobbying effort...Eastman's decision to leave the trade association highlights the rift that has developed in the American business community over Trump's decision to exit the Paris accord...Owens Corning [also] distanced itself from the trade group after the Paris decision, [as did International Paper]. SABIC...also said that it "did not review or approve" the IECA letter sent directly to President Trump. [refers to Alphabet, Apple, Eastman, Gap, International Paper, Levi-Strauss, Owens Corning, SABIC, Shell, Unilever, Walmart]

Read the full post here

Article
12 June 2017

IECA claims to represent companies that oppose Paris agreement

Author: Han Chen, NRDC

"Companies Defend Paris Deal Because of its Economic Benefits", Published on 1 June 2017

The Industrial Energy Consumers of America (IECA) purports to represent companies worth over $1 trillion in sales who reject the Paris Agreement...Based on the 2015 listing of members, the IECA is...intentionally exaggerating the opposition to the Paris Agreement and falsely leveraging the voice of member companies... Several companies [listed as members] have publicly declared support for the Paris Agreement…[and]…companies that claim to embrace sustainability such as Eastman Chemical cannot claim social responsibility if they are also calling for withdrawal from the Paris Agreement and undermining America’s effort to reduce emissions through their membership in IECA. The International Paper Company signed the ABA Climate Pledge supporting a Paris deal, Owens Corning signed the Low Carbon USA letter supporting Paris, and SABIC has publicly touted their participation at the Paris COP21 venue...These companies must either come clean about their position on the Paris Agreement or extricate themselves from anti-climate groups such as the IECA. [Refers to Alcoa, Corning, Dow, Eastman, LafargeHolcim, International Paper, Koch Foundation, Koch Industries, Nucor, Owens Corning, SABIC]  

Read the full post here

Company response
11 June 2017

International Paper response

Author: International Paper

IP's vision is to be among the most successful, sustainable and responsible companies in the world. To pursue this vision, we remain committed to continuously reducing our environmental footprint—not only by reducing greenhouse gas and other air emissions—but also through responsible forestry and water stewardship practices.

"Nothing changes for us; we are continuing on our current sustainability path. We don't agree with all decisions made by elected officials, but we believe that it's best to continue to engage with the administration to work constructively toward the best possible outcomes." – Mark Sutton, Chairman and Chief Executive Officer

We generate nearly 75% percent of the energy used in our global mill system using renewable, carbon-neutral biomass and manufacturing residuals, which allows us to minimize the use of fossil fuels and to ensure healthy and productive forest ecosystems for generations to come...Through 2016, we have reduced GHG emissions by 19%, or 3.2 million tons of CO2 annually. We have reduced other air emissions by 23%, and we recently set a new goal of a 30% reduction in other air emissions by 2020. We have also increased purchased energy efficiency by 6.4%, or 14 trillion BTU annually.

We were not involved in the development of the [IECA] letter and do not agree with the organization's decision to send it. We participate in IECA mainly to access the organization's vast reservoir of energy data and reports.

Download the full document here

Company response
11 June 2017

SABIC Response

Author: SABIC

To be clear about our participation at the Paris COP21 venue, as noted in our Sustainability Reports and other communications, SABIC showcased our portfolio of initiatives and products that enable greenhouse gas and energy reductions as part of the Gulf Cooperation Council (GCC) pavilion.

As reported in the NRDC post, SABIC is a member of IECA. We receive energy-related information from the organization and attend some of their meetings. We did not review or approve the May 15, 2017 letter IECA sent to President Trump in regard to the Paris Agreement. SABIC supports the global effort to protect natural capital and we are taking actions that reduce climate impacts. We have set aggressive greenhouse gas reduction targets and are well along the path to our goal to reduce greenhouse gas emissions intensity by 25 percent by 2025 compared to our 2010 baseline. An example of the extent of our efforts is the recent start-up of a natural gas cogeneration facility that is connected with our largest manufacturing site in the Americas in Mt. Vernon, Indiana. This facility eliminates the use of coal for energy, and is expected to reduce the greenhouse gas footprint of the site by 33 percent from our 2010 baseline.

Download the full document here

Company response
11 June 2017

Eastman Response

Author: Eastman

Published: 8 June 2017

Eastman supports the continued participation of the United States in the Paris Accord and did not approve the IECA letter. As we strive to be responsible stewards of our global environment, Eastman realizes the significance of climate change and the need for global action...We understand that a trade organization's actions do not always represent the position of all individual members. The IECA letter is an example. While we valued the IECA's work in areas unrelated to climate change, the organization's action is so at odds with Eastman's position that we also cannot reconcile continued participation in IECA with our commitment to sustainability. As such, this week we discontinued our IECA membership...To learn more about our commitments, visit our website at www.eastman.com/sustainability or http://responsibility.eastman.com 

Download the full document here

Company response
11 June 2017

Owens Corning Response

Author: Owens Corning

Published: 6 June 2017

Thank you for providing Owens Corning the opportunity to respond. We are members of many industry organizations that provide value to our company and our customers. We virtually never find ourselves in alignment with all the positions of any industry organization, including IECA in this case, and believe our record is clear on our commitment to sustainability.

Owens Corning, a global company of 16,000 employees in 26 countries, supported the Paris Agreement during its development, we have supported it since, and we have not advocated for withdrawal. The U.S. decision to withdraw from the Paris Accord does not change, in any way, Owens Corning's commitment to achieve its greenhouse gas reduction goals...aligned with limiting global warming to less than 2 degrees Celsius. We are proud of our continued commitment and of the progress we report each year at: https://www.owenscorning.com/corporate/sustainability.

Download the full document here

Article
6 June 2017

Group representing $6.2 trillion of the US economy says they're 'still in' the Paris climate agreement

Author: Madeleine Sheehan Perkins, Business Insider

A coalition of US economic, education, and local government leaders...will continue to abide by the Paris agreement regardless of America's withdrawal, forming the We Are Still In movement. The coalition represents 120 million Americans and $6.2 trillion of the US economy...The group includes 125 cities, 9 states, 902 businesses and investors, and 183 colleges and universities. Over 20 of the businesses who signed on are Fortune 500 companies...and signatories include Apple, Google, Tesla, Target, eBay, Lyft, Adidas, Facebook, and Nike, among others...The group declared it will pursue climate goals, "in the absence of leadership by Washington," adding "it is local and state governments, along with businesses, that are primarily responsible for the dramatic decrease in greenhouse gas emissions in recent years. Actions by each group will multiply and accelerate in the years ahead, no matter what policies Washington may adopt." [An open letter to the international community and full list of participating business and investors is available here] [refers to Adidas, Apple, eBay, Facebook, Google, Lyft, Nike, Target, Tesla]

 

Read the full post here

Article
2 June 2017

‘Climate Change Is Real’: Many U.S. Companies Lament Paris Accord Exit

Author: Daniel Victor, The New York Times (USA)

Soon after President Trump announced that the United States would back out of the Paris climate accord, several large companies based in the United States that had supported the international pact said they were disappointed by the decision and would continue their environmental efforts. And two chief executives who sat on Mr. Trump's economic advisory council — Elon Musk and Robert A. Iger — said they were leaving that group because they disagreed with the exit from the Paris agreement. While Mr. Trump said the decision to exit the deal was made to protect American jobs — a contention that environmental groups have disputed — some large companies had urged the president to stay in the accord...[on the other hand] Murray Energy...one of the largest coal-producing companies in the country and a prominent supporter of Mr. Trump, praised the decision. The chief executive, Robert E. Murray, said in a statement: « We applaud President Trump's steadfast leadership and his delivery on this important campaign commitment »...

[also mentions : Tesla, Disney, General Electric, Facebook, Twitter, Google, Goldman Sachs, Apple, Microsoft, Amazon, Uber, IBM, Peabody Energy, Cargill]

Read the full post here

Article
1 June 2017

Corporate America finally got on board to fight climate change. Then came Trump.

Author: Alexia Fernández Campbell, Vox

Many of America’s largest businesses and corporations have been vocal in their support for government policies meant to curb carbon emissions,...[however] a smaller number of businesses — mostly US manufacturers and coal companies — have fiercely resisted the Paris deal...Economists say pulling out of the Paris accord will do nothing to bring back manufacturing and coal jobs, but Trump couched his decision in the language of job creation. He followed the lead of two of the largest manufacturing trade groups, the National Association of Manufacturers and the Industrial Energy Consumers of America, which said the goals of the Paris deal were too harsh and would cost too much for manufacturers. [Refers to Alphabet, Apple, Google, Mars, Staples, Walmart]

Read the full post here