UK ranks second in corporate science-based targets as adoption skyrockets

The UK witnessed the second highest number of companies setting science-based targets in 2022, according to a Science Based Targets initiative (SBTi) monitoring report that has reported an 87% increase in the number of companies setting targets globally.

UK ranks second in corporate science-based targets as adoption skyrockets

According to the report, by the end of 2022, 45 companies from the UK FTSE 100 had established science-based targets, while an additional 24 companies had made commitments to set such targets.

As a result, a combined total of 69% of FTSE 100 companies had taken steps to either implement or pledge to implement science-based targets by the close of 2022. Globally, 87% more companies had their targets validated (1,097) in 2022, which is a greater number than the previous seven years combined (1,082).

SBTi’s chief executive officer Luiz Amaral said: “This annual update from the SBTi shows the enormous demand from the business world for credible, ambitious targets for reducing greenhouse gas emissions.

“From catastrophic floods in Pakistan to deadly heatwaves in Europe in 2022 demonstrated, the human and economic costs of climate change are already being felt around the world. Companies must act now.”

The recent CCC report revealed that industrial emissions accounted for 14% of UK emissions in 2022 but did fall by 3% year-on-year to 63 MtCO2e due to a decline in manufacturing output between 2021 and 2022.

While research highlights a trend within the business sector to embrace net-zero and establish science-based targets, the CCC underscored that these endeavours won’t completely synchronise with its net-zero trajectories.

Earlier this year, edie published two reports outlining the essential measures that companies can adopt to expedite their journey towards ambitious decarbonisation objectives.

Global market

While the UK observed an increasing pattern of industrial climate initiatives, the global economy also experienced heightened corporate engagement.

By the end of 2022, companies constituting more than one-third (34%) of the global economy in terms of market capitalisation had established or pledged to establish science-based targets.

The SBTi report further highlighted Japan’s leadership, with the highest number of companies setting targets compared to any other country. Companies adopting science-based targets accounted for 40% of the NIKKEI index by the end of 2022.

Across Asia, growth was evident, with a 127% surge in companies establishing science-based targets in 2022. China exhibited the highest increase, with a194% rise in the number of validated companies.

The materials sector experienced expansion within industries, marked by a 160% increase in companies setting targets.

The leading sectors encompassed services, manufacturing, and infrastructure, collectively accounting for more than 60% of businesses setting targets. Conversely, the sectors demonstrating slower growth were power generation, biotech, healthcare & pharma, and hospitality.

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