Companies with science-based targets planning $25.9bn climate mitigation investments

Major companies to have aligned their emissions reductions targets with climate science are collectively planning to invest more than $25.9bn in climate mitigation through to 2030, according to new analysis covering firms including Tesco and Mastercard.

In 2020, the number of companies committed to the SBTi surpassed the 1,000 mark

In 2020, the number of companies committed to the SBTi surpassed the 1,000 mark

The analysis, conducted by the Science-Based Targets Initiative (SBTi), accounts for the planned investments collectively disclosed by 338 companies across all major sectors.

It also details the annual emissions figures from each of the companies. Collectively, the 338 firms have reduced their combined emissions by 25% since 2015, the analysis reveals. The average firm in this cohort has reduced annual emissions at a linear rate of 6.4% every year since 2015 when a rate of 4.2% is needed to describe targets as 1.5C-aligned.

Support for science-based targets is growing rapidly, with businesses seeing benefits ranging from compliance with national net-zero requirements, to reduced long-term risk and improved reputation among consumers and investors. The rate of adoption was twice as high in 2020 as it was between 2015 and 2019. Despite the impacts of the Covid-19 pandemic, an average of 31 businesses per month joined the SBTi in 2020. Big-name sign-ups include Amazon, Facebook and Ford brought the total number of commitments past the 1,000 mark.

But the SBTi is warning that more must be done to mitigate emissions from the private sector. Between 2015 and 2020, global emissions from energy and industrial processes increased by 3.4%.

And while the proportion of high-emitting corporates setting science-based targets has passed what the organisation describes as the “critical mass” of the 20% mark in markets like Europe, uptake has been slower in North America (16%) and Asia (12%). When looking at sectors rather than geographies, uptake has accelerated in cement and concrete but stagnated in construction and automotive. Indeed, the World Benchmarking Alliance’s (WBA) analysis of climate action in the auto sector found that just five world’s 30 biggest brands have science-based targets.

“With COP26 on the horizon, now is the time for the private sector to step up to the plate and follow the science,” WWF’s global lead for science-based targets Alexander Farsan said. If a company is genuine about protecting the climate, then it should be setting science-based targets.”

Aside from WWF, the SBTi is made up of experts from CDP, the UN Global Compact and the World Resources Institute (WRI).


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Sarah George



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