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 and 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 commitment. 

Despite this widespread support from the business and investor community, the 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 its members.

In its blog posts, "Groups Misled Trump on Economic Case Against Paris Agreement" and "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 these blog posts to respond:

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." Dow, Kimberly-Clark, Owens Corning, International Paper, SABIC, and WestRock also stated that the IECA's letter opposing the agreement does not represent their views. 

Full responses by Alcoa, Dow, Eastman, International Paper, Kimberly-Clark, Owens Corning, SABIC, WestRock, and Weyerhaeuser are available via the links above and in the section below. Business & Human Rights Resource Centre also invited Koch Industries/Koch Foundation and Nucor to respond to NRDC's criticisms of their support for IECA's position against the Paris Agreement. They have not yet responded; we will indicate here whether they do.

We welcome responses from any other companies named in the NRDC blog post. To submit a response, please email Christen Dobson at [email protected].  

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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 non-response
11 June 2017

Koch Industries non-response

Author: Koch Industries

Company non-response
11 June 2017

Nucor non-response

Author: Nucor

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]

 

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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]

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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]

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