As 2021 drew to a close so did the Eighth consecutive yearRecord-breaking global temperatures a disruptive and destructive byproduct of climate changes. There is hope for 2022. Unprecedented vote by 69.9% of Costco shareholders at the annual general meetingSupported a proposal asking the retail giant to set greenhouse emission reduction targets to allow it to achieve net zero emissions by 2050.
It is a huge win for the environment and climate that 69.9% of voting shareholders supported this proposal against the unanimous Costco board recommendation that its shareholders vote in opposition. This vote is actually the first to be directly asked by a corporation to set science based emission reduction targets through resolution.
Humans have increased their dependence on fossil fuels to power their cars, cities, and industry since the industrial revolution. People have destroyed one of the best natural resources and best tools to combat global warming, forests. From the tropics, to the Arctic, forests have been absorbing carbon dioxide and storing it in their soils and trees for centuries. This stored carbon is released and reduced by reducing the amount of carbon dioxide in the atmosphere. Combining burning fossil fuels with cutting down forests is a dangerous combination that has contributed to the climate crisis we currently face.
A shareholder vote like the one taken by Costcos can have a direct effect on this vicious circle. This resolution specifically addresses forests and climate change. It asks that Costco include emissions from its direct operations as well as energy use. However, it also includes indirect actions taken by its suppliers. This means that Costco must address deforestation in its supply chains, which are primarily driven mainly by palm oil, soy and beef production. American consumers are often unable to determine where their products come from and have little or no way of knowing. Costco, which sells such products as personal care products and furniture, can end the environmental destruction at source.
Costcos shareholders have voted in favor of this shareholder resolution. This asks the company to set targets that are consistent with the resolution. Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Changeadvisory to limit the planet’s temperature rise to 1.5 degrees Celsius. The proposal recommends Costco use The Science Based Targets initiative(SBTi), which allows companies to track and set their carbon reduction goals in accordance with the IPCCs advisory. If every large company had these targets, we’d be well on the way to tackling climate changes.