Dropping Out of Paris Accord May Have ‘Done Us a Favor,’ Says Unilever CEO

Following President Donald Trump’s decision to quit the Paris climate agreement, the CEOs of Disney, Tesla, Apple and many others quit Trump’s business advisory council, and others continued to speak up in favor of sustainability.

Paul Polman, CEO of Unilever, for example, told CNBC that he has respect for the CEOs who quit the council, as well as for those who are remaining on the council in the hopes of working within the administration on sustainability. Polman believes the business community, cities, states and civil society will be accelerating the pace of sustainable implementation, and that, in fact, Trump may have “done us a favor; that we’re moving faster now than we otherwise might have been,” he said.

Polman pointed out that sustainability still makes obvious business sense, citing a report released today that indicated there is about $12 trillion worth of untapped business potential through 2030 if companies take sustainability seriously.

Unilever has been quite vocal in terms of speaking out for sustainability in recent years and particularly in recent months. In February, the company announced that by 2050, all of its plastic packaging will be either reusable, recyclable or compostable.

Other major companies in Corporate America have been supportive of the Paris accord. Such companies as Apple, Amazon, Google and Microsoft have responded to positively to the climate pact, saying that carbon reduction strategies would boost investment in renewable energy while beefing up American competitiveness, innovation and job growth.

Energy companies that have been against a break with the accord include Berkshire Hathaway Energy, Calpine Corp., Exelon Corp., General Electric, PG&E Corp. and Royal Dutch Shell are among those voicing support for the accord. Furthermore, 365 businesses that include DuPont, General Mills and Schneider Electric signed a letter asking President Trump to stick to the Paris agreement.

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