Two of the most visible companies in their respective industries today announced they were joining The Climate Pledge, with both Verizon and Infosys signing on to the project. The Climate Pledge was co-founded by Amazon and climate change organization Global Optimism, calling on signatories to achieve net zero carbon across their businesses 10 years ahead of the Paris Accord’s 2050 target.

Companies that sign onto the Climate Pledge agree to numerous steps, including:

  • Measuring and reporting GHG emissions on a regular basis
  • Implementing decarbonization strategies in line with the Paris Agreement through real business changes and innovations. These include efficiency improvements, renewable energy, materials reductions, and other carbon emission elimination strategies
  • Neutralizing any remaining emissions with additional, quantifiable, real, permanent, and socially beneficial offsets to achieve net zero annual carbon emissions by 2040

Christiana Figueres, the UN’s former climate change chief and founding partner of Global Optimism noted the significant commitments being made by each company. Regarding Verizon, she said:

“As the climate crisis worsens, more companies will need to get serious and challenge themselves to achieve decarbonization at a faster pace. Verizon is committing to an accelerated timeline that will move the needle against the race to stop the continued warming of our planet. Actions like this will cut emissions and slow down the damage that has been done, but we have to act now.”

On Infosys, Figueres added:

“The Paris Agreement set out a unifying roadmap for all countries and all people to address the climate crisis by taking action. The IPCC has informed us that we cannot warm the planet beyond 1.5 degrees Celsius. By committing to achieve net zero emissions by 2040, Infosys is not just making a statement of commitment to the future, it is committing to significant actions and investments that will create jobs, spur innovation, regenerate the natural environment and help consumers to buy better in the short term. This is what leadership looks like in resetting the global economy.”

Both Verizon and Infosys have made significant progress in their own drives to reduce emissions. Verizon is on track to be carbon neutral across scope 1 and scope 2 emissions by 2035. The company has also issued a $1 billion green bond to invest in innovative solutions to accelerate the company’s sustainability efforts, which include powering operations with 50% renewable energy by 2025, and entering virtual power purchase agreements (VPPA) for more than 380 MW of new wind and solar power capacity.

Infosys is committed to transitioning to 100% renewable energy, and announced its intention to become carbon neutral in 2011, several years ahead of the Paris Agreement. The company was the first signatory to RE100 from India, and has already invested in 60 MW of captive solar photovoltaic capacity, with nearly 45% of its electricity coming from renewable sources.

Commenting on today’s announcement, Hans Vestberg, Chairman and CEO of Verizon, said:

“Climate change is a global challenge that impacts everyone, and that is why we considered it vital to join The Climate Pledge. Leaving future generations with a cleaner world is core to our values as a responsible business. At Verizon, it does not stop with reducing our carbon footprint. Through our technology and networks, we’re innovating solutions for customers, increasing efficiencies and building resiliency across the company and the communities we serve.”

Jeff Bezos, Amazon Founder and CEO added, “I’m excited that Verizon is signing The Climate Pledge and committing to reach the Paris Agreement ten years early. Tackling climate change requires innovation, leadership, and partnership – no one can do it alone, Verizon has set aggressive goals to increase energy efficiency across its operations and power its business with 50% renewable energy by 2025 – on the path to achieving net zero carbon by 2040.”

Speaking of the emphasis at Infosys on climate action, and on today’s commitments, Salil Parekh, Infosys CEO and MD said:

“At Infosys, we recognized climate change as a serious threat to our planet early on, and realized our responsibility as a corporate institution to mitigate its impact by taking concrete steps. We believe that the way in which global organizations responded to this crisis would play a big role in defining how the rest of the world takes up the cause. As a result, we committed to climate action over a decade ago, and since then, the impact on climate and environment have been important considerations in the decisions we make as an organization. We are pleased to partner with Amazon and Global Optimism in The Climate Pledge initiative with a collective aim to work towards a low-carbon future.”

Bezos added, “Infosys is showing bold leadership by signing up to The Climate Pledge and committing to meet the goals of the Paris Agreement ten years early. When significant companies like Infosys join The Climate Pledge, they send an important signal to the market that it’s time to invest in low carbon products and services.”