Companies with emissions of France and Spain set science-based targets
Companies with annual greenhouse gas emissions equivalent to those of Spain and France combined have now set reduction targets aligned with the Paris Agreement.
Nike, Microsoft and McDonald’s are among the 285 companies to have set the emission cuts, which will be independently verified by the Science Based Targets initiative (SBTi).
If the goals are realised, the SBTi estimates that these companies will slash their CO2 by 265 million metric tons – equivalent to shutting down 68 coal-fired power stations.
They will also drive investment of up to $18bn (£14bn) in climate change mitigation, and spur 90 TWh of annual renewable electricity generation, enough to power 11 million US homes a year.
In addition, 76 companies have set more ambitious targets aligned with limiting global warming to 1.5˚C above pre-industrial levels, according to a report from the SBTi.
‘These companies are at the vanguard in the fight against climate change,” said Alexander Farsan, global lead for science-based targets at WWF, which is one of the SBTi’s partners.
“They are proof that action on climate science goes hand-in-hand with a successful business and economy. Every company in every sector must step up and reduce their emissions in line with what science says is needed.”
The SBTi estimates that nine in 10 of the 285 companies have also set ambitious emission reduction targets for their value chains, which are responsible for 3.9 billion metric tons of CO2.
It said that science-based targets are becoming standard business practice, with at least 20% of high-impact companies headquartered in Finland, France, Japan and Denmark having set targets.
Japan was the first country to provide explicit government support for companies to set science-based targets, and there were 52 Japanese firms with approved targets as of 31 October 2019.
With the exception of India, which has nine firms with approved science-based targets, only a few companies in emerging markets have set such goals. Non-OECD countries make up only 6% of companies with approved targets.
“Setting science-based targets highlighted the scale of the decarbonisation that has to happen across the whole economy,” said Jeremy Lardeau, senior director of global sustainability data and analytics at Nike.
"Our scope 3 target covers raw material extraction and basic processing for the key commodities that our industry and others rely upon. If we are to meet our science-based target, these sectors must contribute, we can’t do it alone.”
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Chris Seekings is a reporter for TRANSFORM