Following a shareholder vote on the As You Sow resolution on May 4, General Electric has now committed to achieve net-zero carbon emissions by 2050. This goal expands beyond GE’s operations and also includes its Scope 3 emissions from their other products like power generation equipment, including thermal power plants and jet engines, which make up an important part of its carbon emissions. The company also announced in late 2020 that it will exit the new build coal power market.
This announcement on July 19th follows a 98% vote on a resolution filed on behalf of Amalgamated Bank and presented by shareholder representative As You Sow on GE’s plans to achieve net-zero GHG emissions across its business and product lines by 2050. The resolution, which was supported by GE’s board, was also flagged as a key proposal by the Climate Action 100+ investor initiative, which represents more than 500 investors with more than USD 54 trillion in assets.
As You Sow works to address the challenges and risks of climate change by working with shareholders and energy companies to facilitate a transition to business models that comply with the Paris Agreement.
This is part of a larger “Say on Climate” investor movement calling for companies to develop a net zero climate transition plan and report annually on their success in reducing emissions. A recent study found that 20% of the world’s 2,000 largest public companies have adopted net zero commitments, representing annual sales of nearly $14 trillion. Companies such as Microsoft, Amazon, Unilever, and many others have recently committed to become carbon neutral by 2050 or sooner and to annually report progress towards meeting those targets.
Danielle Fugere, president of As You Sow, said: “GE’s leadership demonstrates that industries involved with the burning of fossil fuels have the capability to evolve their business strategy and reduce their greenhouse gas emissions in line with the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change’s global goal for avoiding catastrophic climate change. GE shareholders look forward to seeing further details on the company’s transition plan and the time frames for action.”