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Climate action means delivering on bold ambition. This is a process of innovation and transformation. Done right, climate action unlocks opportunities for business success in the net zero economy and protects against risks. 

Steps to achieve it


Align your core business strategy and every department with your climate goals.

Climate action is a process of business transformation. Companies will only achieve their net zero ambition if they review core strategy, move with urgency to rethink business activities and their functions, and adopt an innovation mindset. Employees at all levels should be responsible for implementing the climate transition action plan and have incentives to deliver progress at the scale and speed needed.

How to achieve it:


Rigorously review your core business strategy. Embed climate-related risks and opportunities, and identify material areas of change, including governance, innovation, capital investment, procurement and recruitment.


Define roles and responsibilities for the execution of the climate action plan and for climate-related decision-making. Tie executive pay to the delivery of the climate strategy. Create incentives and training for employees to meet climate objectives, and identify sufficient capital to deploy to business units responsible for implementation.


Ensure responsible leadership, with ongoing board-level oversight of your climate strategy.

To ensure your company is prioritizing people as you embed climate in your strategy and operations, see the Just Transition Resource Platform developed with BSR and The B Team.

Case study

Iberdrola’s climate story: innovating to create the energy system of the future

How the energy company has embedded climate across its business


Rapidly reduce emissions under your direct control, and switch to renewables or other zero-emissions energy sources.

To achieve ambitious targets, companies must reduce their direct emissions (Scope 1) from things like fuel combustion, alongside emissions from purchased energy (Scope 2), which typically make up a large proportion of a company’s carbon footprint. Companies should immediately seize the negative or low-cost opportunities to decarbonize that are readily available in most markets.

How to achieve it:


Engage business units (manufacturing, logistics, operations and R&D) to identify and deploy low- and zero-carbon solutions, as well as improve overall efficiencies. When solutions are prohibitively expensive or unavailable, show leadership and innovate: strategy teams can review portfolio choices and cost savings, and R&D can develop new products and explore new markets.


Identify and secure sources of zero-emissions electricity, for space heating, vehicle fleets and processes, in all your markets (energy sourcing and procurement teams will play a key role). Help improve availability of supply by joining demand-side initiatives such as RE100 and (if in the US) the Clean Energy Buyers Alliance.

Improve supply by incentivizing suppliers to seek certification for cleaner products produced, such as via ResponsibleSteel


Join collaborative peer groups to share learnings and best practice to galvanize progress towards Scope 1 and 2 reduction targets. Participate in global initiatives with a technology, sector or supply-side focus:


Catalyze supply chain action and reduce Scope 3 emissions through innovation.

For most companies, the largest proportion of their emissions come from their supply chains: the products and services purchased from suppliers, and the use and disposal phase of their products. Corporate climate leaders uncover the risks and opportunities in their supply chains, work with suppliers, and transform product design to drive emissions reductions across the chain.

How to achieve it:


Ask all direct suppliers to raise their climate ambition and join the race to zero. Make science-based targets and emissions disclosure a requirement. Trigger a chain reaction by encouraging suppliers to engage with their own suppliers to uncover and address their Scope 3 emissions.


Identify your top Scope 3 emissions hotspots and engage your value chain in addressing them. Tie procurement decisions to climate ambition and action by including climate performance as a meaningfully weighted factor in all purchasing decisions.


Innovate and rethink the design of your products and their lifecycles, to minimize the embodied emissions in their materials, manufacturing processes, supply chains, transportation, customer use and disposal phases. Develop new products, services and processes aligned with the concept of circular, rather than linear, economy.


Start building a high quality Scope 3 emissions inventory to support your efforts. Valid approaches include collecting direct suppliers’ emissions data, developing product lifecycle carbon footprints, as well as using economic models, third-party tools and proprietary databases. Where possible, collect primary data from suppliers or develop methodologies to track your emissions reductions.
Tools and resources for estimating Scope 3 emissions:

Putting it into practice

Stories and resources

Take action

The Supplier Cascade

The Supplier Cascade gives businesses a manageable way to address Scope 3 emissions through Tier 1 supplier engagement. Built from best practice, it focuses on enabling action in the areas that are within a business’s control.

Case study

Work with certified partners that share your climate commitment

The SME Climate Hub supports small to medium-sized enterprises – like Clif Family Winery & Farm – to decarbonize. By choosing SME Climate Hub members as suppliers, your company can reduce its Scope 3 emissions.


To accelerate the net zero transition, invest beyond your value chain.

Climate leaders go beyond their own targets, by contributing to climate action, adaptation and mitigation efforts outside their operations and value chains. They invest in nature-based solutions, carbon removal technology and innovation, harnessing the potential of climate finance to unlock growth and innovation.

How to achieve it:


Nature-based climate solutions are available now and need corporate investment to scale up their critical role in limiting warming to 1.5°C. Invest directly into credible, high quality projects (at specific sites) or programs (at landscape or jurisdiction level). Or, invest indirectly through offset purchases (which must complement, not replace or detract from, actual emissions reductions against your science-based targets).


Invest collectively into projects that benefit nature, climate and livelihoods, and share best practice.


Invest in technology and innovation that falls outside normal R&D activities. Join or set up multi-stakeholder groups to identify new ways to approach a climate challenge, impacting corporate value chains beyond your own.


Visit the nature guidance hub for more on understanding the carbon markets and credibly investing in nature-based solutions for climate.


Download The 4 A’s of Climate Leadership

Download an overview of the steps to Climate Leadership. Refer back to these pages for the latest updates and links to best-in-class resources.

Continue your journey through the 4 A's

Join a wave of companies on the way to climate leadership. Turn your ambition into action, be vocal in your advocacy, and accountable for delivering on your commitments.

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