86 new businesses sign Amazon’s climate pledge, as BT and Moody’s shift net-zero deadlines forward

The Climate Pledge now has more than 200 business signatories 

The announcement came on the first day of Climate Week NYC and takes the number of pledge signatories past 200. Collectively, the committed businesses generate more than $1.8trn in annual revenues and employ more than seven million people.

Amazon co-created the Climate Pledge with Global Optimism in 2019, following mounting pressure from consumers, investors and its own staff to firm up its environmental ambitions and actions in line with its scale.

The Pledge is headlined by a requirement for signatories to reach net-zero emissions across all scopes by 2040 at the latest. To ensure that signatories are not over-reliant on offsetting, there is also a requirement for businesses to prioritise energy efficiency, renewable energy and creating a closed-loop for materials. From there, they must “neutralise any remaining emissions with additional, quantifiable, real, permanent and socially beneficial offsets”.

Signatories are also encouraged to collaborate on key focus areas relating to clean energy, energy efficiency and the circular economy.

New signatories include Accenture, ASOS, Aviva, BT, CBRE, Costain, Cundall, Deloitte, GSK, HP, Logitech, Nespresso, P&G, Salesforce and Selfridges. They join the likes of  Colgate-Palmolive, Heineken, PepsiCo, Visa, Sainsbury’s, Aecom, Quorn Foods, Mace Group, Morgan Sindall Group, Telefonica, Henkel, Microsoft, Unilever, Mercedes-Benz and dozens more.

Many of the new signatories already had net-zero targets for 2040 or sooner.  ASOS, for example, announced a 2030 net-zero target covering the whole value chain earlier this month. P&G, meanwhile, outlined plans for reaching net-zero across its operations and supply chain by 2040 last week.

In these instances, the Climate Pledge states that its value lies in ensuring that companies take “science-based, high-impact actions”. Moreover, the organisers believe it can act as a vehicle to improve engagement with consumers and collaboration across the private sector.

Amazon and Global Optimism estimate that the 200 signatories will collectively mitigate 1.98 billion metric tonnes of CO2e by 2040 if they deliver against their commitments. This is equivalent to 5.4% of global emissions in 2020.

“Addressing climate change effectively requires collaboration across industries and credible science-based actions,” P&G’s chairman, president and chief executive David S. Taylor said.

“P&G has made significant progress over the past decade and we know we must do more. The task ahead is urgent, difficult, and much bigger than any single company can solve alone. P&G is proud to join The Climate Pledge as we work together to preserve our shared home for generations to come.”

In joining the Climate Pledge, businesses also sign up to the UN’s Race to Zero campaign, designed to accelerate the uptake of net-zero targets ahead of COP26.

Increasing ambition

In related news, UK-based telecommunications giant BT and American financial services firm Moody’s have both moved their net-zero deadlines forward.

BT had set itself on the path to help limit global warming to 1.5C through a science-based target to reduce emissions by 87% by 2030 against a 2016/17 baseline, which was set back in September 2017. However, the company raised its ambitions again in 2018, when it committed to becoming a net-zero-carbon business by 2045.

Today (20 September), BT has committed to reaching net-zero for operational emissions by 2030. A 2040 net-zero target for supply chain and customer emissions has also been announced.

The company has already switched to 100% renewable electricity and developed plans to electrify its fleet by 2030. In a statement, it said that plans for evolving its business models and technologies would accelerate decarbonisation. Planned moves include retiring the 3G mobile network by 2023 and the public switched telephone network (PSTN) by the end of 2025; installing full fibre broadband for 25 million homes and businesses by the end of 2026 and offering 5G across the UK by 2028.

“As the world looks to recover from the Covid-19 pandemic, we must remember that the global climate emergency hasn’t gone away,” BT’s chief digital impact and sustainability officer Andy Wales said. “BT is committed to climate action and today’s announcement will see us not just deliver on our public commitments to date but exceed them.”

Moody’s, meanwhile, has changed its net-zero deadline from 2050 to 2040 and published a new decarbonisation plan. The firm’s chief executive Rob Fauber said: “The global economy is fundamentally realigning due to climate risk, and the transformation will affect us all. Given the urgency of the need to adapt, we are accelerating Moody’s net-zero target, and continue to embed climate risk and sustainability into everything we do.”

The decarbonisation plan includes a commitment to halve direct (Scope 1) and power-related (Scope 2) emissions by 2030, against a 2019 baseline. Moody’s already uses 100% renewable electricity but has promised to increase contracts with suppliers that provide green electricity directly, rather than by purchasing guarantees of origin certificates (REGOs). It has also pledged to improve the energy efficiency of existing office and seek LEED-certified buildings for new locations.

On Scope 3 (indirect) emissions, there is a commitment to a 15% reduction in emissions – between 2019 and 2025 – in activities relating to duel, business travel and employee commuting. There is also a commitment to support 60% of suppliers of capital goods and purchased goods and services, by spend, to set science-based targets by 2025. Moody’s is working with CDP to help achieve this ambition.

Sarah George

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