People with shopping carts filled with groceries goods, products walking out of Costco store in Virginia in parking car lot


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Costco has taken a step toward curbing its greenhouse gas emissions, with the retailer committing to new emission reduction targets in 2023. The wholesaler’s decision comes after 70% of Costco shareholders voted in January to back a green investment firm’s proposal to adopt emission cuts.

The eco-conscious firm and shareholder, Green Century Capital Management, announced Costco’s plan in a press release, which said that the retailer will focus its efforts on scope 3 emissions — or emissions produced by the company’s supply chains and use of its products. Scope 3 emissions likely make up the “vast majority” of the company’s impact, according to Green Ventures.

“With this commitment, Costco is no longer a laggard among its peers. So, we congratulate the company on committing to reduce its contribution to climate change,” said Green Century President Leslie Samuelrich. “Costco’s plan to set a scope 3 emissions reduction target in 2023 shows that the company is starting to treat climate change with the gravity that the issue — and shareholders — demand.”

The wholesaler is also set to release an updated Climate Action Plan in December 2022 — along with other emissions targets.

Following the company’s annual meeting in January, Tony James, the chair of the board of directors, also said the retailer had pledged to purchase 100% renewable electricity by 2035.

“While reducing emissions, we must also maintain the health and competitiveness of our business,” James told the Seattle Times. “Our solutions need to be deliverable, but we are moving forward aggressively.”

Extreme weather conditions fueled by global warming are already affecting consumers, leading to surging sugar and coffee prices in 2021. Similar spikes will become more common as climate change worsens, with one top researcher noting that climate change is “coming right into our dining room tables.”

Gallery: Big Companies Helping to Fight Climate Change and Protect the Environment

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