87 major firms commit to setting 1.5C science-based targets

L'Oreal, Inter Ikea Group and Nestle are among a coalition of 87 corporates to have today (22 September) committed to set science-based emissions reductions targets in line with the Paris Agreement's more ambitious 1.5C trajectory.

87 major firms commit to setting 1.5C science-based targets

According to the UN Global Compact, which issued a call-to-action to businesses on 1.5C science-based targets earlier this year, the businesses to have made the commitment this weekend represent a combined global market capitalisation of more than $2.3trn and represent more than 4.2 million employees.

Moreover, the 87 firms collectively generated the same amount of Scope 1 (direct) and Scope 2 (power-related) greenhouse gas emissions as 73 coal-fired power plants during 2018.

By making the commitment, each of the firms will work to have their emissions reductions targets verified by the Science-Based Targets Initiative (SBTi) within the next 24 months. The SBTi recently updated its target validation criteria and resource package for businesses in light of the IPCC’s landmark report on climate change, in order to better foster the adoption of 1.5C-aligned targets.

The latest cohort of companies include ADEC Innovations; América Móvil; ASICS Corporation; Atlassian Corporation; Bharti Airtel Limited; Burberry; City Developments Limited; The Co-operative Group; Croda International; Cybercom Group; Danone; Deutsche Telekom; Dexus; EDP – Energias de Portugal; Electrolux; Elopak; En+ Group; Ericsson Group; Firmenich; Glovo; Grupo Malwee; Guess; Ingka Group; Inter IKEA Group; International Flavors & Fragrances; Intuit; Klabin; L’Oréal; Marui Group; Nestlé; Nokia; Novo Nordisk; NRG Energy; Orange Group; Ørsted; PensionDanmark; Reliance Jio Infocomm Limited; Saint-Gobain; Salesforce.com; Scania; Schneider Electric; Seventh Generation; SkyPower; Sodexo; Suez; Swiss Reinsurance; TDC; Viña Concha y Toro and Wipro.

Other companies to have responded to UN Global Compact’s call to action, which was made in conjunction with the SBTi and the We Mean Business coalition, include Acciona; AstraZeneca; Banka BioLoo; BT; Dalmia Cement Ltd.; Enel; Hewlett Packard Enterprise; Iberdrola; KLP; Levi Strauss & Co.; Mahindra Group; Natura &Co; Novozymes; Royal DSM; SAP; Signify; Singtel; Telefonica; Telia; Unilever; Vodafone Group and Zurich Insurance.

Companies in these cohorts to have already had their Scope 1 (direct) and Scope 2 (power-related) emissions reductions goals green-lit by the SBTi have vowed, under the new pledge, to extend their commitments to cover their indirect (Scope 3) emissions.

“Warming beyond 1.5C is a calamity we simply must not risk,” World Resources Institute president Andrew Steer said. Steer notably sits on the SBTi board.

“Science-based targets provide a blueprint for companies to make a clear contribution to meeting the goals of the Paris Agreement, but we need all hands on deck. There is not a minute to lose.”

Mounting action

The news comes as world leaders gather in New York for a milestone Climate Action Summit hosted by UN Secretary-General António Guterres.

At the summit, government leaders and business representatives will be asked to present clear plans of action aligned with the Paris Agreement’s 1.5C trajectory.

In anticipation of this request, some companies have already made fresh announcements on decarbonisation in the run-up to the event. Amazon, for example, last week set a net-zero goal for its operations by 2040, following months of pressure from its employees to do so.

The announcement also comes in the middle of a week of climate strikes, which began on Friday (20 September). The first day of the strikes garnered the support of more than two million people across 100+ countries worldwide, as students were joined, for the first time since Greta Thunberg made her first protest in August 2018, by businesses.

Sarah George

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