At COP 25, corporate climate movement grows exponentially as new companies announce plans to align with a 1.5°C future
The following is a joint press release from the United Nations Global Compact, the Science Based Targets initiative (SBTi) and the We Mean Business coalition.
177 companies commit to set 1.5°C-aligned science-based targets across their operations and value chains, as movement doubles in size since September
MADRID, 11 December, 2019 — 177 companies have pledged to set highly ambitious emissions reduction targets to help limit the worst effects of climate change — more than doubling in size since the first group of early movers was announced at the UN Climate Action Summit in September.
As part of the “Business Ambition for 1.5°C — Our Only Future” campaign, new signatories have pledged to set climate targets that align with limiting global temperature rise to 1.5°C above pre-industrial levels and reaching net-zero emissions by no later than 2050.
The 177 companies collectively represent over 5.8 million employees, spanning 36 sectors and with headquarters in 36 countries. The companies have a combined market capitalization of over US$2.8 trillion, and represent annual direct emissions equivalent to the annual total CO2 emissions of France.
The companies are committed to setting science-based targets through the Science Based Targets initiative (SBTi), which independently assesses corporate emissions reduction targets in line with what climate scientists say is needed to meet the goals of the Paris Agreement.
The announcement was made at the 25th annual United Nations Climate Change Conference (COP 25) and represents the major business contribution to the Climate Ambition Alliance: a growing multi-stakeholder group convened by the COP 25 Chilean Presidency that brings together countries, businesses, investors, cities and regions working towards achieving net-zero emissions by 2050.
With this announcement, these companies are leading the way in creating a positive feedback loop known as an “ambition loop” — with Government policies and private sector leadership reinforcing each other, and together taking climate action to the next level. Ambitious corporate action helps to send strong market signals, and should give Governments confidence to urgently ramp up their national climate plans, including Nationally Determined Contributions (NDCs) and long-term strategies, in line with the latest climate science. By setting policies and targets in line with a 1.5°C trajectory, Governments give business the clarity and confidence to invest decisively in the zero-carbon economies of the future.
The news comes on the occasion of the annual High-level Meeting of Caring for Climate, convened by the UN Global Compact, UN Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC) and UN Environment. As a high-level stakeholder consultation — with a focus on private sector engagement — the event helps to identify key levers of action necessary to help increase corporate support for enhanced Nationally Determined Contributions and the Sustainable Development Goals.
“We need businesses to unite behind the science by taking rapid and ambitious action across their operations and value chains,” said UN Secretary-General António Guterres. “I am encouraged that 177 major companies have committed to set scientific, verifiable emission reduction targets aligned with a 1.5°C future through the “Business Ambition for 1.5°C” campaign. By stepping up and setting science-based targets, these companies are pioneering new ways of doing business and driving systemic change throughout the global economy.”
“We are quickly nearing our last opportunity to be on the right side of history. The climate emergency is already disrupting people, business operations, economies and ecosystems around the world,” said Lise Kingo, CEO and Executive Director of the UN Global Compact, one of the SBTi partners. “As countries prepare to enhance their national climate action plans next year, business leaders have a critical role to play in challenging Governments to urgently match their climate ambitions. We need all businesses to be activists for our only future.”
The latest cohort of companies joining the “Business Ambition for 1.5°C” campaign includes: Abreu Advogados, Aguas Andinas, Ambev, An Post, Auchan Retail Portugal, BanColombia, Beiersdorf, BIAL, Carlsberg Group, Cellnex Telecom, Chanel, CTT – Correios de Portugal, Decathlon, Dr. Reddy’s Laboratories, Dutch-Bangla Pack, Ecolab, EcoVadis, Efacec Power Solutions, EPAL – Empresa Portugesa das Aguas Livres, Europa Mundo Vacaciones, Europcar Mobility Group, Everis Portugal, Givaudan, Green Innovation Group, Grundfos, Henkel, Iberia, Ignitis Group, Infraestruturas de Portugal, International Airlines Group (IAG), Intrepid Travel, Landsec, Lojas Renner, Lundbeck, Multiplex Construction Europe, NOS, Novo Banco, NR Instant Produce, Olam International, Ono Pharmaceutical, Orbia Advance, Orkla, Qalaa Holdings, Red Electrica de España, REN – Redes Energeticas Nacionais, Siemens Gamesa Renewable Energy, Sopra Steria Group, South East Water, Storebrand, Tendam Retail, TenneT Holding, Tesco, The Lux Collective, TMG Automotive, Univar Solutions, Uxua Casa Hotel & Spa, and Yarra Valley Water, amongst others.
These companies are joined by a group of investors managing close to US$4 trillion in assets who have committed to converting their investment portfolios to net-zero emissions by 2050 through the UN-convened Net Zero Asset Owner Alliance, in addition to over 50 companies in the fashion industry that have committed to align with a 1.5ºC future through the Fashion Pact.
About the United Nations Global Compact
As a special initiative of the UN Secretary-General, the United Nations Global Compact works with companies to align their operations and strategies with ten universal principles in the areas of human rights, labor, environment and anti-corruption. Launched in 2000, the UN Global Compact guides and supports the global business community in advancing UN goals and values through responsible corporate practices. With more than 9,500 companies and 3,000 non-business signatories based in over 160 countries, and more than 60 Local Networks, it is the world’s largest corporate sustainability initiative.
For more information, follow @globalcompact and visit unglobalcompact.org.
About the Science Based Targets Initiative (SBTi)
The Science Based Targets initiative mobilizes companies to set science-based targets and boost their competitive advantage in the transition to the low-carbon economy. It is a collaboration between CDP, the United Nations Global Compact, World Resources Institute (WRI) and the World Wide Fund for Nature (WWF) and one of the We Mean Business Coalition commitments. The initiative defines and promotes best practice in science-based target setting, offers resources and guidance to reduce barriers to adoption, and independently assesses and approves companies’ targets.
For more information, follow @sciencetargets and visit sciencebasedtargets.org.
About the We Mean Business coalition
We Mean Business is a global coalition of nonprofit organizations working with the world’s most influential businesses to take action on climate change. The coalition brings together seven organizations, BSR, CDP, Ceres, The B Team, The Climate Group, The Prince of Wales’s Corporate Leaders Group and the World Business Council for Sustainable Development. Together we catalyze business action to drive policy ambition and accelerate the transition to a zero-carbon economy.
For more information, visit wemeanbusinesscoaltion.org.
United Nations Global Compact
Sofina Mirza-Reid: +1 (908) 540-1075
Matthew Hunter: +1 (631) 829-4275
Science Based Targets initiative
Sarah Savage: +44 (0) 20 3818 3916
We Mean Business coalition
Kristen King: +1 (904) 608-1745