Boeing’s shareholders push for stronger climate targets on road to net-zero

A vote was held on a ‘Say on Climate’ resolution, filed at Boeing by As You Sow, on Tuesday (3 May). The resolution calls on Boeing to outline how its overarching net-zero target and interim commitments to cut emissions are aligned with a 1.5C temperature pathway.

Boeing has publicly stated that it supports the global commercial aviation sector’s overarching vision to reach net-zero by 2050. However, investors are pushing for more specific information on how the company intends to get there.

Boeing claimed, in December 2020, that it had achieved net-zero carbon emissions from its manufacturing and work sites, by improving energy efficiency, procuring renewable energy and purchasing carbon offsets. It is aiming to reduce its greenhouse gas emissions by 25% by 2025, against a 2019 baseline.

Investors are not satisfied with this commitment, as it only covers Scope 1 (direct) and Scope 2 (power-related) emissions. Scope 3 (indirect) emissions from the supply chain and from product use account for the vast majority of Boeing’s overall emissions footprint. The absence of Scope 3 targets led to Boeing being identified as a priority company for engagement by the Climate Action 100+ coalition of investors, which represents more than $68trn of assets under management.

“99% of Boeing’s emissions come from the use of products, yet the company does not have a concrete plan to reduce these emissions in line with science and the Paris Agreement’s 1.5C goal,” said As You Sow’s climate initiative manager David Shugar. “Every company must take responsibility for their full climate impact, addressing small parts of their emissions, while ignoring the vast majority of their emissions, won’t get us to our global climate goals.”

As You Sow said in a statement that Boeing’s management has accepted the resolution and is planning to issue a net-zero report in the near future. edie has reached out to Boeing’s press office for more information.

One Earth Climate Model

In related news, the UN-convened Net-Zero Asset Owner Alliance has worked with academics at the University of Technology Sydney to launch a new digital model mapping out the investments that are needed to shift the global economy to a 1.5C-aligned temperature pathway. Scope 1, 2 and 3 emissions are covered in the model.

Called the One Earth Climate Model (OECM), the model provides information on how investments will need to be shifted in 12 of the world’s highest-emitting sectors, namely aluminium, chemicals, cement, steel, textiles & leather, power & gas utilities, agriculture, forestry, aviation, shipping, road transport and real estate & building.

The Net-Zero Asset Owner Alliance consists of 71 institutional investors that collectively manage more than $10trn of assets. The OECM can help them to flesh out their long-term net-zero goals. It is also hoped that the tool will be of assistance to policymakers looking to bolster net-zero goals with interim, sector-specific targets, and new requirements for investors.

The Net-Zero Asset Owner Alliance’s chair Gunther Thallinger said: “The OECM model provides very granular, sector-specific net-zero pathways based on currently available technologies and with the highest ambition regarding renewable deployment, both well in line with the latest Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) report.

“Next to the International Energy Agency’s (IEA) Net Zero scenario, it is the best available source to understand the enormous speed which is needed in all sectors to achieve a net-zero world in 2050.

For asset owners committed to net-zero portfolio alignment sector pathway, information is of utmost importance for investment portfolio steering. Asset owners’ investee companies are assessed against these pathways. Furthermore, the OECM pathways need to be the basis for discussions with policymakers on the development of industry sectors.

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