Top Businesses Increasingly Set Net Zero Goals, Science-Based Targets

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by | Oct 25, 2021

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More than 60% of DOW 30, EURO STOXX 50 and FRSE 100 companies have committed to making net zero goals, doubling since 2020, and of those 36% have offset their carbon emissions, according to a report by EcoAct.

Nearly three-quarters of the 178 companies analyzed in the report reduced their Scope 1 and Scope 2 emissions. Although, Scope 3 emissions are lagging, with 22% of companies registering a decrease.

EcoAct says technology and telecommunications is the top-ranking industry in the report, and Microsoft, Apple and Salesforce were this year’s top sustainability performers. Other notable companies analyzed in the report include Visa, which moved up 21 places from 2020’s analysis to ninth and Walmart, which moved up 17 places to seventh.

With science-based targets initiatives (SBTi) becoming more important and common for businesses, 65% of companies set goals there, up 26% from 2020, and more than half set them at or better than the 1.5°C pathway, up from 20% last year.

Transparency and accountability in sustainability goals also are another area becoming a priority across industries, with some businesses even calling for regulation of such disclosures.

Overall, EcoAct shows businesses remain slow in being transparent with their efforts as the report indicated there was a 13% increase in emissions and across all industries. The report says 19% of companies disclose what their long-term emissions target goals are and 2% say how they will reach their sequestration of residual emissions goals.

In addition to the increase in SBTi’s and overall goals for Scope 1 and 2 emissions, which the report found 65% of companies have plans in place, Scope 3 emissions targets are slow to develop with 39% of the companies making goals with the residual emissions. Overall, 17% of the companies achieved Scope 3 reduction based on the 1.5°C scenario.

Of the companies that took part in the report, AstraZeneca, Vodafone, Apple and SAP SE were the only ones to successfully set 1.5°C aligned Scope 1, 2 and 3 SBTi validated SBTs, according to the report.

The report adds that nearly 80% of companies across all industries aligned with climate-related financial disclosures recommendations, the biggest year-over-year increase.

The study asks companies 28 questions regarding emissions measurement and reporting; ambition and emission reduction targets; strategy, governance and action plans; and achievements.

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