Big Business, especially, fossil fuel firms have been under the ens for some time now, not only for their lack of action, but also for having deliberately ignored or even suppressed their own knowledge of climate change caused by their actions. The tide may finally be turning.
In a press release for the end of COP 25 meet, the United Nations Global Compact, the Science Based Targets initiative (SBTi) and the We Mean Business coalition have announced a major new push from corporates to aim for a target aligned to a 1.5 degree centigrade increase in global temperatures.
The new list of firms includes 177 companies that will focus on their operations and and value chains to meet the new targets.
Besides the 1.5 degree aim the important focus is also to reach net-zero emissions by 2050. These commitments couldnt have come sooner in the view of many experts, both climate wise and financially. For, it is becoming increasingly clear that the stage where firms are likely to be judged by their climate awareness by their consumers is getting closer and closer.
These 177 companies collectively represent over 5.8 million employees, spanning 36 sectors and with headquarters in 36 countries. The companies have a combined market capitalization of over US$2.8 trillion, and represent annual direct emissions equivalent to the annual total CO2 emissions of France.
The companies are committed to setting science-based targets through the Science Based Targets initiative (SBTi), which independently assesses corporate emissions reduction targets in line with what climate scientists say is needed to meet the goals of the Paris Agreement.
The announcement was made at the 25th annual United Nations Climate Change Conference (COP 25) and represents the major business contribution to the Climate Ambition Alliance: a growing multi-stakeholder group convened by the COP 25 Chilean Presidency that brings together countries, businesses, investors, cities and regions working towards achieving net-zero emissions by 2050.
It is hoped that ambitious corporate action helps to send strong market signals, and should give Governments confidence to urgently ramp up their national climate plans, including Nationally Determined Contributions (NDCs) and long-term strategies, in line with the latest climate science. Especially important considering the overall failure the conference turned out to be, with governments unable to agree on fresh goals, as was widely hoped for. The closest outcome from the conference has been a non binding commitment from countries to place fresh pledges on the table by the time of the next conference in Glasgow, next year.
“We need businesses to unite behind the science by taking rapid and ambitious action across their operations and value chains,” said UN Secretary-General António Guterres. “I am encouraged that 177 major companies have committed to set scientific, verifiable emission reduction targets aligned with a 1.5°C future through the “Business Ambition for 1.5°C” campaign. By stepping up and setting science-based targets, these companies are pioneering new ways of doing business and driving systemic change throughout the global economy.”
The latest cohort of companies joining the “Business Ambition for 1.5°C” campaign includes: Abreu Advogados, Aguas Andinas, Ambev, An Post, Auchan Retail Portugal, BanColombia, Beiersdorf, BIAL, Carlsberg Group, Cellnex Telecom, Chanel, CTT – Correios de Portugal, Decathlon, Dr. Reddy’s Laboratories, Dutch-Bangla Pack, Ecolab, EcoVadis, Efacec Power Solutions, EPAL – Empresa Portugesa das Aguas Livres, Europa Mundo Vacaciones, Europcar Mobility Group, Everis Portugal, Givaudan, Green Innovation Group, Grundfos, Henkel, Iberia, Ignitis Group, Infraestruturas de Portugal, International Airlines Group (IAG), Intrepid Travel, Landsec, Lojas Renner, Lundbeck, Multiplex Construction Europe, NOS, Novo Banco, NR Instant Produce, Olam International, Ono Pharmaceutical, Orbia Advance, Orkla, Qalaa Holdings, Red Electrica de España, REN – Redes Energeticas Nacionais, Siemens Gamesa Renewable Energy, Sopra Steria Group, South East Water, Storebrand, Tendam Retail, TenneT Holding, Tesco, The Lux Collective, TMG Automotive, Univar Solutions, Uxua Casa Hotel & Spa, and Yarra Valley Water, amongst others.
These companies are joined by a group of investors managing close to US$4 trillion in assets who have committed to converting their investment portfolios to net-zero emissions by 2050 through the UN-convened Net Zero Asset Owner Alliance, in addition to over 50 companies in the fashion industry that have committed to align with a 1.5ºC future through the Fashion Pact.