RALEIGH – In 2018, North Carolina Governor Roy Cooper issued Executive Order No. 80 that reaffirmed and outlined the state’s commitment to reducing statewide greenhouse gas emissions while simultaneously supporting the expansion of clean energy businesses.

An E2 report released this week found that North Carolina ranks first in the nation for clean energy jobs in rural counties, finding more than 25,500 clean energy jobs–25.6 percent of all cleantech jobs in North Carolina. The state ranked ninth out of all 50 states in total employment in the industry.

But North Carolina’s clean energy future isn’t just tied to employment in the sector or governmental targets. Privately-held and publicly-traded companies will play a critical role in reducing carbon emissions and advancing new and emerging technologies that combat climate change.

For example, in Charlotte, the Abermarle Corporation (NYSE: ALB), today joined the United Nations Global Compact, and the specialty chemicals company will soon release a sustainability report with additional information about the company’s impact on the environment.

Lenovo, which announced in September an updated set of goals regarding its impact on the global environment, has joined the Science Based Targets initiative and plans to cut its scope one and scope two greenhouse gas emissions in half by 2030, and released a video update today.  The company last week announced a shift in its strategy, but the company has not been reached for comment on whether this shift in strategy comes with a shift in tactics to address its climate impact.

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And, Cisco recently released its 2020 environmental impact report.

Honeywell previously committed to become carbon neutral in operations and facilities by 2035, and IBM announced a pledge to become net-zero with regard to carbon emissions by 2030 and launched a Future of Climate initiative with other corporate partners through the MIT Climate and Sustainability Consortium. Oracle, which is also a member of the Science Based Targets initiative, has set goals targeting a date of 2025, and set up a company dashboard.

Asheville-area startup No Evil Foods is advancing environmental sustainability as the first certified plastic negative plant-based meat brand, describing the use of plastic in food packaging and preparation as a racist practice in a statement issued today.

“It’s imperative for the future of our planet and those who live on it to decrease our plastic consumption and fight to create racial justice, and the truth is, the two are linked. Brands can be doing more to combat the issues,” said Sadrah Schadel, co-founder of No Evil Foods in the statement. “Until a full transition to sustainable materials is viable, we believe companies participating in the creation of plastic waste have a responsibility to address its management and disposal.”

The developers of the new building that will house Raleigh’s Pendo is pursuing LEED GOLD certification, and its San Francisco office is a LEED Platinum facility and uses 100 percent renewable energy. The company’s Sheffield, U.K. office also uses 100 percent renewable energy.  But the startup doesn’t yet have formal goals for sustainability or environmental impact, but may consider formalizing for a 2022 initiative, said a spokesperson for the company.

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