Co-op to halve emissions with 1.5C science-based target

The Co-op has joined a select group of business leaders committed to aligning emissions reduction strategies with the highest ambition of the Paris Agreement, after pledging to halve its greenhouse gas emissions by 2025.

The goals were announced in April, but have since been approved by the SBTi

The goals were announced in April, but have since been approved by the SBTi

Over the last few months, the number of companies that have set an emissions goal aligned to the more ambitious target of the Paris Agreement has almost doubled, with BT, Tesco, Carlsberg and Pukka Herbs now joined by the likes of Carbon Credentials, Burberry and now the Co-op.

The Co-op has had a goal to halve direct emissions and reduce supply chain emissions by 11% approved by the Science Based Targets initiative (SBTi). The SBTi confirmed that the target, set for 2025, is aligned to net-zero emissions and the 1.5C target of the Paris Agreement.

Having already halved emissions over a 10-year period from 2006, the Co-op will now strive to reach a 50% reduction by 2025. The retailer recorded a 20% reduction over the past 12 months.

Co-op’s chief commercial officer, Michael Fletcher, said: “How we do business really matters. The world is experiencing a climate crisis and we need to work together to avoid it. Accelerating action is the only way to mitigate and reduce impacts on our natural world, and to ensure stable food supply chains in the future.

“A rolling set of publically available and reviewed stretching, short term targets, are imperative if we are to hold ourselves to account to achieve our collective longer-term ambitions. Making sure that we have a natural environment we are proud to pass on to future generations needs action to be taken now.”

The move was backed by Co-op Members at its AGM in May.

1.5C movement

Co-op’s announcement came just days after luxury fashion retailer Burberry revealed that its 1.5C science-based target had been approved by the SBTi. Burberry has set a 95% reduction in its scope 1 and 2 emissions against a 2016 baseline, alongside a targeted 30% absolute reduction in scope 3 emissions by 2030 against the same baseline.

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. 

Since its formation in 2015, the SBTi has approved the carbon reduction targets of more than 160 companies, with the likes of home improvement retailer Kingfisher and sportswear brand Asics among the latest firms to have their 2C goals rubber-stamped.  

A further 350 companies have pledged to set approved targets within the next two years, including confectionary giant Hershey Company and, more recently, Best Buy. In total, more than 800 firms have publicly voiced their support for the SBTi.

Matt Mace



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