13 major U.S. corporations announce at least $140 billion in new investments to decrease their carbon footprints

Executives from 13 major U.S. corporations announced at least $140 billion in new investments to decrease their carbon footprints.

Companies including Apple Inc., Berkshire Hathaway Energy Co., and Goldman Sachs Group Inc. joined Secretary of State John Kerry and top administration officials at the White House for the announcement. In addition to pledges to cut emissions, provide financing to environmentally focused companies, and reduce water consumption, the companies have said they will produce 1,600 megawatts of new, renewable energy — enough to power almost 1.3 million homes. The White House said it expects to announce a second round of pledges later this fall from additional companies.

The commitments are being announced as President Barack Obama is working to build momentum toward a legacy-defining global climate accord in Paris. In addition to company-specific commitments, the corporate leaders signaled their support for a strong climate agreement out of the United Nations talks. The administration is using the pledges to set an example for companies to find ways to eliminate carbon emissions.

Among the pledges,  aluminum manufacturer Alcoa Inc. has agreed to reduce emissions by 50 percent from its 2005 levels, while agricultural giant Cargill Inc. says 18 percent of its total energy use will come from renewable sources.

Coca-Cola Co. said it will drive down the carbon footprint of its beverage production by 25 percent over the next five years, while Google Inc. says it plans to triple its purchases of renewable energy over the next decade. Berkshire Hathaway says it plans to invest up to an additional $15 billion in the construction and operation of renewable energy generators, while Bank of America Corp. says it will increase its environmental business initiative by $75 billion over the next decade.

Other participating firms include Wal-Mart Stores Inc, United Parcel Service Inc., PepsiCo Inc., Microsoft Corp. and General Motors Co.