Business giants commit to delivering net-zero strategies

More than 20 companies, including Telefonica, Vodafone and Unilever, with a total market capitalisation of more than $1.2trn have committed to setting science-based targets aligned to 1.5C reductions and net-zero emissions for 2050.

Business giants commit to delivering net-zero strategies

Kearney's long-term goal is to reduce value chain emissions by 90% in order to reach net-zero by 2050

In a response to a call-to-action from the UN Global Compact ahead of the UN Climate Action Summit this September, the companies have agreed to raise corporate climate ambitions through the Science Based Targets initiative (SBTi).

Amongst the 27 companies confirmed so far are: Acciona, AstraZeneca, Banka BioLoo, BT, Dalmia Cement, Eco-Steel Africa, Enel, Levi Strauss & Co, Mahindra Group, Natura &Co, KLP, Royal DSM, SAP, Signify, Singtel, Telefonica, Telia, Unilever, Vodafone Group PLC and Zurich Insurance. Of these companies, BT, Levi Strauss and SAP have already committed to 1.5C targets for their operations.

“Climate leadership has never been more important than it is right now, and it is inspiring to see so many diverse companies and brands boldly raising their ambitions,” UN Global Compact’s chief executive Lise Kingo said.

“Leading companies are already proving that 1.5°C-compliant climate targets are possible, and I encourage all businesses to seize this opportunity to position themselves at the forefront of this movement and contribute to the achievement of the Sustainable Development Goals.”

Almost 600 companies have committed to climate action through the SBTi, but the majority of these targets are aligned to the Paris Agreement’s lower ambition to limit global warming to no more than 2C.

The SBTi will place a renewed focus on assisting businesses in setting emissions reduction goals aligned with the 1.5C ambition of the Paris Agreement. The body published an update to its target validation criteria in April, in a bid to encourage more businesses to set ambitious carbon reduction aims in line with a 1.5C pathway. A key change is that a “well-below 2C” pathway will become a minimum requirement, up from the current 2C criteria. 

“The science is clear: to limit the catastrophic impacts of climate change, we must ensure warming does not exceed 1.5°C. The ambition is high, but it’s achievable — and science-based targets give companies a roadmap for getting there,” CDP’s chief executive and SBTi board member Paul Simpson said.

“We urge all companies to seize this chance to align their business with a 1.5°C future and drive forward the transition to a net-zero carbon economy.”

edie recently interviewed Burberry’s vice president of corporate responsibility, Pam Batty, to find out how the company went about setting its 1.5C science-based target, announced earlier this year. Read the interview here.

Matt Mace

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