- The theme of this year’s Earth Day was “Invest in Our Planet”.
- The day was marked by companies making pledges and touting progress in addressing the climate crisis, including Apple, CVS Health, ADM, and Stripe.
- This article is part of the “Financing a Sustainable Future” series exploring how companies take steps to set and fund sustainable goals.
During this year’s recent Earth Day activation, companies like Stripe and ADM took the opportunity to promote new commitments and to mark progress toward their public goals.
Their news underscored two primary drivers of sustainability investment now — companies transitioning from legacy systems, and supporting new technology solutions.
Earth Day’s theme this year was Invest in Our Planet. “Unless businesses act now, climate change will ever more deeply damage economies, increase scarcity, drain profits and job prospects, and impact us all,” read the Earth Day website. “Through regulations, incentives, and public/private partnerships, governments hold the keys to transform and build the green economy.”
As global consumer interest in sustainability has grown, so have the corporate Earth Day announcements proliferated.
In addition to rolling out its traditional green logo at its retail locations, Apple marked this Earth Day by disclosing it had increased the use of recycled materials across its products to nearly 20%, while also promoting
as a channel to support the World Wildlife Fund.
CVS Health ran down a list of its 2021 climate progress, including having its net-zero targets validated by the Science-Based Targets initiative’s corporate net-zero methodology.
News out of Stripe and ADM highlighted the progression of climate initiatives for startups and new technology, as well as legacy corporations in transition.
Stripe partners on new carbon removal fund
Payments giant Stripe isn’t trying to walk the road to sustainability alone. It is sharing the investment with industry peers.
Leading up to Earth Day, Stripe announced a partnership with Alphabet, Meta, Mckinsey, and others, to form Frontier.
The goal is to accelerate and scale carbon capture and storage technology by committing to purchasing $925 million of carbon-removing technology, which is being developed in startups, over the next nine years. Stripe Climate enables its customers to direct portions of its revenue toward the fund.
“Some of the most interesting investments being made in sustainability are coming from the
,” Cary Krosinsky, who teaches sustainable finance at Yale University and Brown University, told Insider. “Stripe’s focus on investing in startups doing carbon capture and of this scale recognizes that people expect more from companies today than just how they are reducing their own operational footprints.”
Just as investors come together to make major financial transactions easier, Krosinsky said Stripe is collaborating to help effect change that would be otherwise hard to do alone. This includes in terms of the size of the investment required.
“It makes a lot of sense for the tech sector to say, ‘We’re going to each throw money into a kitty on a mega project,'” he says.
ADM moves up its deforestation timeline
As part of Earth Day celebrations this year, multinational food processing company ADM said it has accelerated its 2030 timeline for deforestation-free sourcing. The company moved up this commitment by five years, to 2025.
ADM said it will achieve its traceability goals in soy supply chains in Brazil, Paraguay, and Argentina by year-end, and is making progress in tracing its palm supply chain.
Previously, ADM also committed to cutting its greenhouse gas emissions by 25% by 2035. That commitment was made after it commissioned a feasibility study from engineering professional services firm WSP Global. It identified a pathway for meeting this goal, which includes the purchase of renewable electricity, equipment upgrades, and using more biomass fuels.
ADM also continues to invest in satellite imaging technology to keep its supply chains transparent and monitor for signs of deforestation.
It uses mechanisms like Green Bonds to finance or re-finance sustainability projects, according to an analyst note from Corinne Bendersky at S&P Global Rating. It gave the company a “strong” rating in this regard.
“ADM expects to use an amount equal to the net proceeds of any sustainable bond financing issued under the framework within 24 months of issuance to exclusively finance or refinance eligible green and social projects,” reads the note.
Projects included the areas of sustainable agriculture, green buildings, energy efficiency and renewable energy, and clean transport.