Net zero transition – the latest signals of change: July 7, 2023We Mean Business Coalition
Companies restoring Texan forests and government plans for decarbonizing shipping are among this week’s net zero Signals of Change.
Net Zero Economy & Finance
At the recent New Global Financing Pact Summit in Paris, governments including the UK, France and Canada committed $2.7 billion for Senegal’s renewable rollout in the latest Just Energy Transition Partnership (JETP). An investment plan aimed at boosting electricity access in Senegal and increasing its renewables share to 40% by 2030 is due to be delivered within a year.
A new label aimed at replacing carbon neutrality claims has been launched by carbon offset firm South Pole. The ‘Funding Climate Action’ (FCA) scheme aims to help combat ‘green hushing’ and help companies demonstrate credible climate and environmental action. The initiative has received support from CDP and Salesforce, among others, while an initial survey showed that four out of five consumers would trust and be more likely to buy products bearing the FCA label.
And the Science Based Targets initiative has published new guidance to outline how larger companies can engage with supply chains and get suppliers to set their own science-based targets. It recommends that businesses identify suppliers to target under engagement initiatives based on the total number, type, and size of suppliers. It also outlines steps to take to ensure internal buy-in and accurate monitoring.
Third Derivative – the climate tech accelerator founded by RMI and New Energy Nexus – has launched the Clean Mobile Power Initiative, which aims to reduce the emissions from movie and TV sets. It has secured funding from Disney and Netflix for its first 18-month innovation program. “This initiative presents an opportune moment for the entertainment industry to come together and support acceleration and availability of innovative clean mobile power technologies,” said Yalmaz Siddiqui, vice president of environmental sustainability for The Walt Disney Co.
Brookfield Properties, one of the biggest commercial landlords in the U.S., has announced plans to power all its office properties in the country with zero-emissions electricity by 2026. Two thirds of Brookfield’s 6.5 million square meters of office space will shift to zero-emissions electricity by 2024, and the rest will be completed over the following two years. The plans are expected to cut the total direct carbon emissions of the company’s U.S. office portfolio by about 80%.
JinkoSolar has provided high-efficiency solar modules to power a new 25 MW solar project in the Central African Republic. The Chinese company’s involvement in the project comes through its participation in the World Bank’s ‘Light Up Africa’ Initiative to support countries with unreliable power supply.
As countries gather in the UK at the International Maritime Organization meeting, new research has shown that emissions from shipping could be halved by 2030 without damaging trade. The research by consultancy CE Delft found that CO2 from shipping could be cut by using ships more efficiently, fitting ships with sails or “wind-assist” technologies and making use of experimental fuels including hydrogen. Also on the agenda for the IMO meeting will be the potential introduction of a shipping levy to encourage ship owners to invest in emissions reductions. A proposal mooted at the recent Paris finance summit would see revenues from the levy flow into a loss and damage fund to help countries stricken by climate impacts.
Other recent research has found that more high-speed rail (HSR) routes and encouraging carrier competition on train lines would have a significant impact in encouraging passengers to make more climate-friendly travel choices and give the European rail sector a €1 billion boost. The latest report from Silverrail analyzed a selection of the region’s most prominent HSR routes, finding that those that welcomed competition to the line – such as Spain’s Madrid-Barcelona route – enjoyed a rapid uplift in passenger numbers and revenues.
And Toyota has claimed a new EV battery breakthrough that the Japanese firm says could halve the weight, size and cost of batteries. The automaker believes it can now make a solid-state battery with a range of 1,200 km that could charge in 10 minutes or less, which the firm says could be used in its EVs as early as 2027.
Land & Nature
AstraZeneca has announced a $400 million pledge to plant and maintain 200 million trees by 2030. The announcement is an extension to the firm’s 2020 pledge, which has seen 10.5 million trees planted so far across Australia (in collaboration with Aboriginal people), Indonesia, Ghana, the U.S. and Europe. “We also want to restore biodiversity,” said CEO Pascal Soriot, “so that’s why we have 300 species of trees and plants.”
The Coca-Cola Foundation, Silk (Danone), Google, Meta, and Microsoft have joined forces to collaboratively invest $972,000 to restore 2,000 acres of longleaf pine forest in Texas, U.S. The restoration will entail managing and removing invasive plants and planting 100,000 Longleaf Pine seedlings over the next five to ten years. Led by Texan by Nature, the project brings together a coalition of stakeholders and aims to create a healthy longleaf pine ecoysystem that will filter and store freshwater, sequester carbon, support biodiversity and benefit the community.
And the University of Cambridge Institute for Sustainability Leadership (CISL), with the Fashion Pact and Conservation International has launched the first guide to help fashion brands reduce their impact on nature by adopting Science Based Targets for Nature (SBTN). The guide was released at the Global Fashion Summit in Copenhagen to give a “critical introduction” for the industry on how to set measurable nature targets. More than 60 brands were involved in the report, including H&M Group, Chanel and Adidas.
Built Environment & Heavy Industry
Swedish vehicle manufacturer Scania has signed a contract with H2 Green Steel for its first order of low-emission steel. The initial contract will provide Scania with sustainably produced steel for building its trucks. The company aims to phase out the main sources of CO2 emissions in its supply chain by 2030, including a target of using 100% green steel, 100% green batteries, 100% green aluminum and 100% green cast iron in its production.
A number of companies have joined a new Green Hydrogen Alliance (GHA) – a trade body aiming to boost the UK’s use of green hydrogen. Airbus and Tata Steel are among businesses involved in the effort to coordinate the roll-out of green hydrogen across the aviation, road haulage, heavy industry, and power generation sectors. A statement from the alliance said: “We look forward to working with policymakers to ensure the country can fulfil its potential in this exciting developing technology.”
And Iberdrola has become the energy partner of LatemAluminium with the aim of decarbonizing its aluminum production processes through renewable electricity and green hydrogen. The Spanish company will join Latem in developing a large-scale aluminum recycling project that will reach an investment of €120 million by 2024 and help create 800 jobs by 2026.
Total number of companies committed to RE100: 412
Total number of companies committed to EP100: 125
Total number of companies committed to EV100: 130
Total number of companies committed to EV100+: 5
Total number of companies committed to SteelZero: 36
Total number of companies committed to ConcreteZero: 30
Total number of companies and SMEs committed to SBTi: 5,521 (2,484 committed, 3,037 approved)
Total number of SMEs committed to SME Climate Hub: 6,335
Total number of companies committed to The Climate Pledge: 417
Webinars & Events
Digital Project Manager at SME Climate Hub
Various posts at BSR
Various posts at CDP
Various posts at Ceres
Various posts at CLG Europe (CISL)
Various posts at Climate Group
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Various posts at SBTi