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Walmart, Apple Would Report Emissions Under California Bill (2)

Jan. 27, 2021, 8:13 PM; Updated: Jan. 27, 2021, 11:12 PM

A group of California lawmakers want companies like Amazon.com Inc., Apple Inc., and Walmart Inc. to report their emissions all the way down to the supply chain level in an effort to increase transparency about climate pollution.

The Climate Corporation Accountability Act would affect an estimated 5,200 public and private companies that do business in the state and have annual revenues of more than $1 billion.

It’s the first attempt in the nation to require broad reporting and emissions reductions, said Sen. Scott Wiener (D), who authored the bill, adding that it’s a long overdue step for the state.

“We’re in a race against the clock when it comes to climate change,” Wiener said during a video news conference Wednesday. “This is not a problem that we can take our time and do little step by little step.”

About 1,400 publicly traded firms and 3,700 private companies with total revenues of $32 trillion annually could be affected by the bill, SB 260, said Michael Schmitz, co-director of the think tank Carbon Accountable, one of the bill sponsors.

Report by 2024

Companies would have to report emissions by 2024 and then set target reductions beginning in 2025, under the bill as currently written.

“You do not improve what you don’t measure,” said Mary Creasman, chief executive of the League of Conservation Voters, which is one of the bill sponsors.

Amazon, Apple, and Walmart didn’t immediately respond to requests for comment.

The California Business Roundtable said the bill places blame on companies while not acknowledging the state could help reduce the carbon footprints of businesses by changing labor laws to make it easier to work from home. He also said it could affect zero-emission battery-makers and other “green” companies that source products in China, the Democratic Republic of Congo, and elsewhere.

“No other state is following our ‘lead’ on these types of climate change mandates,” Roundtable President Rob Lapsley said in a news release. The bill “sends another message to the business community that California is the highest-cost state to do business.”

Emissions Applications

The bill applies to all carbon emissions, from electricity and power at company facilities, to indirect emissions at non-core functions along the supply chain.

Looking at emissions down the line will ensure California’s environmental impact accounted for global activities, Assembly member Robert Rivas (D) said.

“We can’t build our environmental paradise in our state in California on the backs of less-developed counties around the world,” he said.

The bill is “game-changing legislation that signals the end of the approach of waiting and hoping that the world’s largest corporations and polluters will do the right thing for the planet,” Schmitz said.

The bill, which hasn’t been signed to a committee yet, has eight co-authors in the Senate and Assembly. Both houses have Democratic supermajorities.

(Updated to include response from business community.)

To contact the reporter on this story: Emily C. Dooley at edooley@bloombergindustry.com

To contact the editors responsible for this story: Chuck McCutcheon at cmccutcheon@bloombergindustry.com; Rebecca Baker at rbaker@bloombergindustry.com

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