Gütersloh/New York, 12/03/2019

Thomas Rabe Signs Climate Protection Appeal

Subject: Environment
Country: International
Category: Project

More than 70 international CEOs and U.S. union representatives are committed to combating climate change. One of them is Thomas Rabe. Together with the heads of Apple, Adidas, Google, Microsoft, Tesla, and many others, he has signed an appeal to the U.S. government not to withdraw from the Paris climate treaty.

In an unprecedented alliance and with a strongly worded appeal, more than 70 international CEOs with major business operations in the U.S. and leaders of U.S. unions are advocating the need to combat climate change. Specifically, they call on the United States to not become the only country in the world to withdraw from the Paris Climate Agreement of 2015 and thus abandon its existentially important goals. Among the CEOs who signed this appeal is Thomas Rabe. Bertelsmann's Chairman & CEO is in good company. His co-signatories include CEOs Tim Cook (Apple), Kasper Rørsted (Adidas), Sundar Pichai (Google), Satya Nadella (Microsoft) and Elon Musk (Tesla).

“The promise of the Paris Agreement is one of a just and prosperous world,” write the CEOs, whose companies collectively employ more than two million people in the U.S., and the U.S. union leaders, who together represent 12.5 million workers. They add: “We urge the United States to join us in staying in.” They note that given record temperatures across the country, fiercer hurricanes pummeling the coasts, and destructive wildfires, there is no time to be wasted – both in the interests of the environment and a planet worth living on, and in the interests of a functioning economy. The competitiveness of the United States and its companies depends not least on successful climate protection, as does the creation of a healthy working environment for employees and their families.

The signatories declare that their appeal represents the conviction of 77 percent of American voters and more than 4,000 US cities, states and corporations that support the Paris Climate Treaty, the agreement adopted by the UN Climate Change Conference on December 12, 2015. By the end of 2017, every nation on Earth had joined it. The central stipulation of the agreement is to limit global warming to well below two degrees Celsius compared to pre-industrial levels. In mid-2017, the USA became the only country to announce its withdrawal from the agreement as of the year 2020.

While persuading the United States to stay in is the primary concern behind the appeal by the 70 CEOs and union leaders at the start of the World Climate Conference in Madrid, Bertelsmann has long since regarded the company itself, alongside the policymakers, as being responsible for protecting the climate and the environment. Numerous measures across all companies already help to conserve resources, reduce climate-damaging emissions, and use environmentally friendly technologies and raw materials. Specifically, as reported, in 2018 Bertelsmann once again made significant progress on climate protection as well as sustainable paper procurement. For example, the share of paper procured from sustainable sources rose to 92 percent. Greenhouse gas emissions were reduced by seven percent year on year.

Read on for the full text of the letter from the CEOs and  union representatives:

Joint Labor Union and CEO Statement on the Paris Agreement

We the undersigned are a group of CEOs who employ more than 2 million people in the United States and union leaders who represent 12.5 million workers. Together, we know that driving progress on addressing climate change is what’s best for the economic health, jobs, and competitiveness of our companies and our country.

In 2017, many of us came together to rally behind the US’ participation in the Paris Agreement. We came together to say we are still in. Two years ago, the impacts of climbing global temperatures were clear. Today, with record temperatures across the country, fiercer hurricanes pummeling coasts, more destructive wildfires, droughts and flooding disrupting the economy, we have no time to waste.

Two years ago, we knew that supporting the Paris Agreement was what was needed to help keep companies competitive and thriving under the shifting expectations of Americans. We stand with the 77% of registered American voters and over 4,000 American states, cities and businesses supporting the Paris Agreement.

Today, we stand by our conviction that a commitment to the Paris Agreement requires a just transition of the workforce—one that respects labor rights and is achieved through dialogue with workers and their unions. Participation in the Paris Agreement enables us to plan for a just transition and create new decent, family-supporting jobs and economic opportunity.

Staying in the Paris Agreement will strengthen our competitiveness in global markets, positioning the United States to lead the deployment of new technologies that support the transition, provide for our workers and communities, and create jobs and companies built to last.

It also supports investment by setting clear goals which enable long-term planning. It encourages innovation to achieve emissions reductions at low cost.

There has been progress, but not enough. This moment calls for greater, more accelerated action than we’ve seen. It calls for the strong policy framework the Paris Agreement provides, one that allows the US the freedom to choose our own path to emissions reductions.

The promise of the Paris Agreement is one of a just and prosperous world. We urge the United States to join us in staying in.


The following company leaders and union representatives signed the document:

  • Stuart Applebaum, Executive Council & Chair of International Committee, AFL-CIO (The AFL-CIO is the US national union federation that represents more than 12.5 million working people in the United States)
  • Michel Aballea, Chief Executive Officer, Decathlon and Michel d’Humières, Chief Executive Officer, Decathlon USA
  • Jean-Paul Agon, Chairman and CEO, L’Oréal
  • Andrew Anagnost, President and Chief Executive Officer, Autodesk
  • Douglas M. Baker Jr., Chairman of the Board and Chief Executive Officer, Ecolab
  • Ajay Banga, President and CEO, Mastercard
  • Keith Barr, CEO, InterContinental Hotels Group®
  • Oliver Bäte, Chairman of the Board of Management (CEO), Allianz SE
  • Marc Benioff, Founder, Chairman and Co-CEO, Salesforce
  • Chip Bergh, President and Chief Executive Officer, Levi Strauss & Co.
  • Aneel Bhusri, CEO, Workday, Inc.
  • Marco Bizzarri, President and CEO, Gucci
  • Alessandro Bogliolo, CEO, Tiffany & Co.
  • Sir Richard Branson, Founder, Virgin Group
  • Jesper Brodin, CEO, Ingka (incl. IKEA Retail US)
  • Mike Cannon-Brookes, and Scott Farquhar, Co-Founders and Co-CEOs, Atlassian
  • Greg Case, Chief Executive Officer, Aon plc
  • Mr. N. Chandrasekaran, Chairman, Tata Sons
  • Manny Chirico, Chairman & CEO, PVH Corp.
  • Tim Cook, CEO, Apple
  • Michael L. Corbat, CEO, Citigroup Inc.
  • Lloyd H. Dean and Kevin E. Lofton, Chief Executive Officers, CommonSpirit Health
  • Marc Doyle, CEO, Dupont
  • Ferruccio Ferragamo, Executive Chairman, Salvatore Ferragamo S.p.A.
  • Robert Fisher, Chairman and Interim CEO, Gap Inc.
  • Jim Fitterling, Chief Executive Officer, Dow, Inc
  • Mario Greco, Group Chief Executive Officer, Zurich Insurance Group
  • Mauricio Gutierrez, President and Chief Executive Officer, NRG Energy
  • Ralph Hamers, CEO & Chairman, ING Group
  • Arianna Huffington, Founder and CEO, Thrive Global
  • Robert A. Iger, Chairman and Chief Executive Officer, The Walt Disney Company
  • Ralph Izzo, Chairman, President and CEO, Public Service Enterprise Group
  • William D. Johnson, CEO and President, PG&E Corporation; Director, Pacific Gas and Electric Company
  • Alan Jope, CEO, Unilever
  • James K. Kamsickas, CEO & President, Dana Incorporated
  • Patricia K. Poppe, President & Chief Executive Officer, CMS Energy
  • Isabelle Kocher, CEO, ENGIE
  • Ramon Laguarta, Chairman and CEO, PepsiCo
  • Michael W. Lamach, Chairman and CEO, Trane-Thermo King-Ingersoll Rand
  • Enrique Lores, CEO, HP Inc.
  • Patrice Louvet, President & CEO, Ralph Lauren Corp.
  • David W. MacLennan, Chairman & Chief Executive Officer, Cargill
  • Rose Marcario, Chief Executive Officer & President, Patagonia
  • Roberto Marques, Executive Chairman, Natura &Co
  • Mari McClure, Incoming CEO, Green Mountain Power Corporation and Mary Powell, CEO, Green Mountain Power Corporation
  • Brian Moynihan, Chairman and Chief Executive Officer, Bank of America
  • Elon Musk, Co-founder and CEO, Tesla, Inc.
  • Satya Nadella, Chief Executive Officer, Microsoft Corporation
  • Shantanu Narayen, Chairman and CEO, Adobe
  • Christopher J. Nassetta, President & CEO, Hilton
  • José Neves, Founder, Co-Chairman and CEO, Farfetch
  • John Pettigrew, CEO, National Grid plc
  • Sundar Pichai, CEO, Google
  • François-Henri Pinault, Chairman and CEO, Kering
  • Pedro J. Pizarro, President and CEO, Edison International
  • Patrick Pouyanne, Chairman & CEO, Total
  • James Quincey, Chairman and CEO, The Coca-Cola Company
  • Thomas Rabe, Chairman and CEO, Bertelsmann
  • Grant F. Reid, CEO and President, Mars Incorporated
  • Pier Pablo Righi, Chief Executive Officer, Karl Lagerfeld
  • Ginni Rometty, CEO, IBM
  • Kasper Rørsted, Chief Executive Officer, Adidas
  • Mark Schneider, Chief Executive Officer, Nestlé
  • Feike Sijbesma, Chief Executive Officer and Chairman of the Managing Board, Royal DSM
  • David Solomon, Chairman and Chief Executive Officer, Goldman Sachs
  • Esteve Torrens, CEO, Stonyfield Farm, Inc.
  • Jean-Pascal Tricoire, Chairman & CEO, Schneider Electric
  • Hamdi Ulukaya, Founder, Chairman and CEO, Chobani
  • Ben van Beurden, Chief Executive Officer, Royal Dutch Shell PLC
  • Hans Van Bylen, Chief Executive Officer, Henkel
  • Dirk Van de Put, Chairman and CEO, Mondelez International
  • Hans Vestberg, Chairman and CEO, Verizon
  • Peter Voser, Chairman and CEO, ABB LTD
  • Wendell Weeks, Chairman and Chief Executive Officer, Corning Incorporated
  • Lawson Whiting, Chief Executive Officer, Brown-Forman Corporation