The FINANCIAL -- On the eve of the Climate Action Summit in Washington, DC the Science Based Targets initiative announced that 156 companies have committed to set emissions reduction targets in-line with the global effort to keep warming well below 2°C. These commitments form the foundation of a credible corporate climate action strategy as the world transitions to the low-carbon economy.
The companies participating in the initiative are headquartered in 27 countries around the world, including 77 in Europe, 34 in the Asia Pacific region, 25 in the United States and 9 in Canada. They represent a wide variety of industries, from carbon-intensive industrial sectors to consumer-facing industries that include household brands, according to the Global Compact.
Forty-two new companies have joined the initiative since the COP21 negotiations in Paris last December, including Ben & Jerry’s, SunPower Corporation, Owens Corning, Toyota Motor Corporation, Schneider Electric SE, and large European retailer Metro AG.
Of the 154 companies signed on to the initiative, 13 have already had their emissions reductions targets reviewed and approved by the experts at the Science Based Targets initiative. This means the targets are aligned with the decarbonization necessary to limit warming to below 2°C and meet other best-practice criteria defined by the initiative. Combined, these 13 companies will reduce their emissions from operations by 874 million tonnes CO2 over the lifetime of the targets, the equivalent of closing over 250 coal-fired power plants for a year. These companies have also made ambitious commitments to reduce emissions throughout their value chains.
Forty-five companies have targets currently under review, and the remaining companies are in the process of developing targets.
“The enthusiasm companies have shown to setting ambitious climate targets is very encouraging,” says Cynthia Cummis from WRI, one of the four organisations that make up the Science Based Targets initiative. “Our technical reviewers cannot keep up with the number of targets being submitted. This is a great problem to have and a clear indication that the Paris Agreement was a turning point for climate action.”
Galya Tsonkova, Environment Manager for Coca-Cola HBC, explains that “In the past, companies would set targets without the necessary information or a solid point of reference. They would just pick a round figure and aim for cuts of 20, 30, 40 percent, with no further justification, other than generic aspirations. Now, we have a target that is approved by external, credible experts, verified through relevant scientific methodology. That makes a big difference, both for external stakeholders, as well as to our management.”