Despite Increase in Net-Zero Targets, Achievement Gaps Remain

Net Zero

(Credit: PIxabay)

by | Jun 14, 2022

Net Zero

(Credit: PIxabay)

Industries, businesses, and governments are making net-zero goals at a fast pace but significant gaps in net-zero targets remain in every area, according to a report from Net Zero Tracker.

Corporations and cities especially have ground to make up in establishing and working on those targets. More than one-third of the world’s largest publicly traded companies now have net-zero targets, according to the report, but 65% of them do not meet minimum reporting standards. Large cities with net-zero goals have reached 235, but more than 900 lack specific targets.

National governments, though, that have net-zero targets established with legislation or documented policy, have increased to 65%, up from only 10% in December 2020. The Net Zero Tracker report analyzed information from its database of more than 4,000 entities and shows that most countries now have a defined roadmap to achieve net zero.

The report shows that national government targets represent at least 83% of greenhouse gas emissions. It also says that 80% of the world’s population is represented by those targets.

In terms of corporations, about half of the 700 companies with stated corporate targets have them documented in company reports. Most have simply announced their goals and in some cases have said only that they are planning to make net-zero targets in the future.

Of companies that have reported their emissions, 60% partially addressed or didn’t report at all on Scope 3 emissions.

To help encourage action on net-zero targets by non-national government organizations, the United Nations in March 2022 launched a group aimed at businesses, investors, cities, and regions. The goal is for them to make transparent and credible targets with stronger standards and to speed up the implementation of those plans.

Increased financial reporting requirements, such as initiatives like the Taskforce on Climate-Related Financial Disclosures and the proposed rules by the Securities and Exchange Commission, have also encouraged net-zero initiatives.

As businesses search to strengthen their objectives on sustainability impacts, most have set targets for 2040 but around 20% aim for 2030. Nearly 40% of companies say they plan to use emissions offsets to reach net zero.

The hospitality industry has made the most net-zero commitments, followed by fossil fuels, materials such as steel and cement, transportation, and food, beverage and agriculture, according to Net Zero Tracker.

The United Kingdom and Italy have the most companies with at least some net-zero goals as 72% and 70% of their businesses have targets, respectively. In the United States, 36% of companies have made at least some net-zero efforts.

The report analyzed the net-zero pledges of businesses and governments, published plans on how they will achieve their goals, actions they are currently taking, and published progress reports.

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