Amazon.com Inc. has added a competitor to its year-old coalition of companies pledging to reduce their contribution to climate change: Microsoft Corp.
The two technology giants, neighbors in the Seattle area and rivals in cloud computing and business software, have each spent much of the last two years announcing increasingly aggressive climate targets, including dueling umbrella organizations for companies willing to do their part to avert the catastrophic warming of the planet. On Wednesday, Microsoft said it had signed onto Amazon’s pact, alongside consumer products giant Unilever Plc and several other new signatories.
Amazon, long a laggard among its peers in publicly addressing its impact on the environment, reversed course in recent years, bolstering an internal sustainability team and vowing to reach net zero greenhouse gas emissions by 2040. The company also invited others interested in matching that commitment to sign on to what it calls the Climate Pledge, a forum for comparing notes on best practices and climate-friendly investment opportunities.
Microsoft, meanwhile, has said it hopes to use new technologies to remove from the atmosphere all of the greenhouse gases the company was responsible for generating during its entire existence.
Lucas Joppa, Microsoft’s Chief Environmental Officer, said the software maker’s previous pledges already more than meet the Climate Pledge standard, but it’s important to send a signal with participation in Amazon’s effort, particularly because less than 5% of Fortune 500 companies have promised to get to net-zero emissions.
“There’s been this false perception that there is this kind of climate race,” he said. “There is a climate race, but it’s not between tech companies, it’s between every company and society and time.”
The other new Climate Pledgers make for an eclectic mix. Coca-Cola European Partners, the largest Coca-Cola bottler by revenue, joined. So did Harbour Air Ltd., a tour and charter float plane company based near Vancouver, Canada. (Business boosters have long pushed for more frequent routes between Vancouver and Seattle.)
And Neste Oyj, a Finnish state-backed oil refiner making a push into renewable energy, became the first signatory that does the bulk of its business in the fossil fuels industry.