Just before 2021 ended, more that 680 of the world’s largest corporations claimed net-zero emissions goals. The number of net zero targets that have been set by companies is still rising, covering almost 80% of the global economy, according to Net Zero Tracker. This private sector leadership is giving policymakers the confidence to raise national targets, facing now an unprecedented pressure from investors.
Major emitters like United Airlines, BP, Nestlé, and Dell have pledged to reduce their impact on climate change and reach net-zero carbon emissions by 2050. Moreover, NatWest, a major retail and commercial bank in the United Kingdom, plans to invest £100bn in climate and sustainable funding by the end of 2025, which could contribute 50% of the UK’s net zero target.
If world leaders want to have a chance of achieving the Paris goal, net-zero is the only way. However, according to the New Climate Institute and the non-profit Carbon Market Watch, real action is still lagging and some of the world’s biggest companies may not even get close to achieving their claimed goals.
How can companies advance toward net-zero?
Zero-carbon skills are required: A net-zero economy will require different skills. To achieve the target of being zero carbon by 2050, higher levels of formal education, work experience and training are needed.
Understanding where your company currently stands: Assess Scope 1 and Scope 2 emissions and quantify all other indirect emissions from the value chain (Scope 3). Since they are not under your company’s direct control, the quantification and reduction process are not an easy task.
Set your roadmap: Setting a roadmap secures a better financial future. However, defining a vision and assessing your company’s emissions is not enough. Everything should be translated into measurable improvements. Unfortunately, too many net-zero pledges fail to account properly for all GHG emissions.
Tracking the progress: Recognize the gaps to improve data availability and accuracy. Companies should keep in mind that transparency is a key element of good practice in net zero target setting. A great number of companies lack the integrity needed for decarbonization, hiding critical information.
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