WBCSD launches net-zero criteria for new and existing business members
The World Business Council for Sustainable Development (WBCSD) has launched new criteria to ensure that its business members align to science-based and net-zero targets to reduce emissions by no later than 2050.
Currently, the 200 businesses members of the WBCSD, which include some of the world’s largest emitters like Shell, BP and Volkswagen, were able to join as part of an "open membership", whereby firms are accepted on plans to improve on sustainability, rather than historic action.
To mark WBCSD’s 25th year of working to accelerate sustainable action globally, existing or potential new members of the initiative will have to comply with a new set of criteria. The aim is to ensure that businesses are aligned with the need to transition to net-zero emissions.
The WBCSD is calling on businesses to commit to reaching net-zero greenhouse gas emissions by no later than 2050. Businesses will need “science-informed” plans in place to reach net-zero. Businesses will also need to declare support for the UN Guiding Principles on Business and Human Rights by creating policies to respect human rights and a set up a human rights due diligence process.
The Council is additionally calling for organisations to declare support for inclusion, equality and diversity and to eliminate discrimination.
Finally, businesses will be tasked with improving environmental, social and governance-related (ESG) disclosure, in line with the Task Force on Climate-related Financial Disclosures (TCFD).
Companies have until December 2022 to comply with the new criteria. The WBCSD will then begin monitoring corporate progress from 2023.
The WBCSD’s chief executive Peter Bakker said: “In 2021 and going forward, our main focus will be on turning sustainability ambitions into concrete actions, to make the resulted transformations real.
“Getting the new membership criteria approved was a first major step, now we need to keep the momentum going and step up on the critical work needed for that. The bottom line is that if we don’t radically change in the next decade, there is no point in optimism, because we will run out of time.”
The announcement comes almost a year after the WBCSD launched a programme to help women reach senior positions in companies and lead on embedding sustainability across entire corporate strategies.
The LEAP programme encourages companies to propose a female manager and a mentor positioned at the board or executive level of the organisation. Bespoke training and mentorship regimes were scheduled to be rolled out between this month and March 2021.