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New report reveals that by meeting their science-based targets, these companies — with more GHGs than France and Spain, combined — will eliminate 265 million metric tons of emissions from their operations, equivalent to closing 68 coal-fired power plants.
As world leaders meet in Madrid for COP25
this week, with one year left until countries are expected to submit enhanced
climate targets to keep the Paris Agreement on track, a significant portion
of the private sector is not only vocally expressing support for the 2015
— they’re already delivering on it.
285 companies responsible for more than 752 million metric tons of
CO2-equivalent emissions per year from their operations — more than the combined
annual emissions of France and Spain — have set greenhouse gas
emissions-reduction targets in line with what science says is required to avert
and meet the goals of the Paris Agreement. 76 of these companies’ goals are in
line with limiting warming to 1.5°C above pre-industrial levels.
A new report published today by the Science Based Targets initiative
(SBTi) reveals that by meeting their targets, these 285 companies — which
include McDonald’s, Microsoft, Nike and
Nestlé — will reduce 265
million metric tons of CO2e (approximately equivalent to shutting down 68
coal-fired power plants) — an average annual reduction of 35 percent compared to
base year emissions.
“These companies are at the vanguard in the fight against climate change. They
are proof that acting on climate science goes hand-in-hand with a successful
business and economy,” said Alexander Farsan, Global Lead for science-based
targets at WWF, a SBTi partner. “Every company in every sector must step up
and reduce their emissions in line with what science says is needed, or risk
being left behind in a changing world.”
Raising the Bar: Exploring the Science Based Target initiative’s progress in
driving ambitious climate action, is the first-ever assessment of the
initiative’s impact since its launch in 2015.
Other key findings from the report include:
The 285 companies that have set science-based targets will drive investment
of up to USD$18 billion in climate change mitigation and spur up
to 90 TWh of annual renewable electricity generation, enough to power 11
million US households for a year.
In addition to setting science-based targets for their operations (which
includes on-site emissions and emissions from purchased energy), more than
90 percent of the 285 companies have also set ambitious emissions reduction
targets for their value chains emissions, which make up 3.9 billion metric
tons of CO2 equivalent emissions per year — roughly equivalent to 90
percent of the European Union’s annual emissions.
Science-based targets are becoming standard business practice in some
geographies and sectors. More than 20 percent of high-impact companies
in the apparel, biotech, food and beverage, healthcare,
hospitality, information technology,
pharmaceuticals and telecommunications sectors have set
First-movers from high-emitting industries such as cement, steel,
chemicals and automobiles are having their science-based targets
approved. Among the trailblazers are thyssenkrupp AG, Royal
DSM and HeidelbergCement.
At least 20 percent of high-impact companies headquartered in several large
developed markets — including Finland, France, Denmark and Japan —
are setting science-based targets.
Japan is the first country to provide explicit government support for
companies to set science-based targets. As of October 31, 2019, there
are 52 Japanese companies with approved targets, and the Japanese
Ministry of Environment has set a goal of 100 Japanese companies with
approved targets by 2020.
With the notable exception of India, which counts nine companies with
approved science-based targets, few companies in emerging markets have set
science-based targets. Companies headquartered in non-OECD countries make up
only 6 percent of companies with approved targets.
The private sector’s uptake of science-based targets — as of last month, more
than 700 companies are setting science-based GHG emissions-reduction targets,
and more are joining the movement every week — sends a clear signal that the
transition to a low-carbon economy is underway. Business action provides a
foundation for governments to set more ambitious policies and regulations.
“We have to do our bit. But in order to be carbon neutral in our value chain we
are dependent on clean electricity. Politicians have to act,” said Henrik
Sundström, VP of Group Sustainability Affairs at
we are dependent upon decarbonizing the grid — we can play our part by creating
demand for renewables, but governments need to commit to decarbonisation.”
While companies rely on governments to create the right conditions, policies and
incentives to drive the rapid transformation needed and help businesses to
accelerate their climate action across all sectors and geographies, the private
sector is not waiting for governments to take the lead — as seen in the
continued dedication of the US private sector to the Paris Agreement, despite
the White House’s lack of
Luckily, as the report states, regulators around the world faced with the task
of decarbonizing the economy are both encouraging and responding to the ambition
companies are demonstrating by setting SBTs. And over 92 percent of companies
with approved SBTs have set ambitious value chain (scope 3) emissions
thereby cascading their ambition to suppliers and customers.
As Shannon Siart, Manager of Climate Strategy & Sustainability Initiatives
explains: “We have launched the world’s first comprehensive supply chain
management program, [which] includes three key components: an aggressive new
goal to drive accountability within our own supply chain; a plan to build the
capability of our suppliers to set science-based targets in their own
operations; and a commitment to lead the business community by setting a
standard for supplier GHG engagement and abatement. It’s a ripple effect that
will drive action through our suppliers, customers and the world.”
“A science-based target that includes scope 3 emissions signals little more than
intent until a company’s suppliers are aligned and committed to the reduction
required,” asserted Scott Vitters, Senior Director of Sustainable
Manufacturing & Sourcing at Nike. “We have been setting carbon-reduction
targets with our supply partners for nearly a decade and are using our
science-based target to guide our current target setting process with both
finished goods and materials suppliers. We have also initiated a discussion with
several of our most strategic suppliers on having them set their own
The SBTi is a collaboration between CDP, the United Nations Global
Compact, World Resources Institute (WRI) and WWF. The initiative uses the
latest available climate science to define best practice in science-based target
setting, offers resources and guidance to reduce barriers to adoption, and
independently assesses companies’ targets against its validation criteria.
More than 700 companies around the world have made a commitment to set
science-based targets since the SBTi started in 2015. Once they commit,
companies have 24 months to develop and submit their targets to the initiative
“This is an overarching societal task, which won’t work if one company alone
tries to do it,” said Peter Lukas, Sustainability Manager at
HeidelbergCement. “The whole industry needs to cooperate and fundamentally
change the way it works. We need a lot of political support, regulatory support
and commitment from companies.”
Published Dec 4, 2019 10am EST / 7am PST / 3pm GMT / 4pm CET