Net zero transition – the latest signals of change: May 12, 2023We Mean Business Coalition
The latest net zero signals of change include a solar boost for South Africa’s grid and a successful energy efficiency trial for UK companies.
Ahead of next week’s G7 Leaders’ Summit, read a summary blog by We Mean Business Coalition’s Policy Director, Gillian Nelson, on the 5 takeaways for business on climate and energy.
Net Zero Economy
The Australian government has announced a new National Net Zero Authority to reduce national emissions and help industry, communities and workers manage the shift to a low-carbon economy. The authority will start work in July to steer private investment into clean energy opportunities and support workers in emissions-intensive sectors to access new employment and training.
G7 host Japan is to be the first country to house a dedicated chapter of the Glasgow Financial Alliance for Net Zero (GFANZ), an investor-led climate action coalition created during COP26 in 2021. GFANZ confirmed that the chapter will launch in June, and will support local financial institutions to decarbonize their investments and help the country to meet its net zero goal.
And the We Mean Business Coalition has partnered with B-Lab – the leaders of the global B-Corp movement – to collaborate on business climate action initiatives. The partnership will provide new resources for businesses, in collaboration with the SME Climate Hub, and will advocate for changes to policy to enable more rapid decarbonization of the private sector.
The Malaysian government is developing a new strategy to expand renewable energy use and boost its domestic clean energy industry. The country’s Economy and Environment ministries are working to spur investment along the renewable energy value chain, to encourage corporate involvement via power purchase agreements, and to enable cross-border clean energy trading. Malaysia aims to add over 1,000 MW of solar power capacity by 2025, in support of its target for 31% renewables in its mix by that year.
New York state has passed a bill that will scale up renewables and require the state’s public power provider to generate all its electricity from clean energy by 2030, while offering a lower rate for low-to-moderate income customers. The Build Public Renewables Act’s 2030 target will apply to all state-owned properties that receive power from the New York power authority. Municipally owned properties – including many hospitals and schools, as well as public housing and public transit – will also be due to switch to renewable energy by 2035.
In South Africa, an 86 MW solar plant has been connected to the grid in a move that will “significantly contribute to alleviating the severe power shortages being experienced,” according to the developer, Solar Capital. The new solar farm in Northern Cape will generate enough energy to power thousands of homes and businesses in the region.
BlackRock, Daimler and NextEra Energy have committed more than $650 million in funding to a new joint venture to develop and operate a nationwide EV-charging network for commercial vehicles in the US. Named Greenlane, the venture will design, install and run a network of zero-emission public charging and hydrogen sites for medium- and heavy-duty battery-electric and hydrogen fuel cell vehicles, built on critical freight routes along the east and west coasts and in Texas.
Germany’s train operator Deutsche Bahn has revealed in its quarterly statement that 90% of travelers between Paris and Stuttgart now take the train rather than flying. The 340-mile high-speed rail journey between the two financial hubs takes about three hours and can cost as little as €20. The results indicate that DB’s plans to encourage travelers to take more climate-friendly transport – announced last year with an intention to invest €15 billion – are paying off.
In Nigeria, Chinese bus manufacturer Yutong has agreed a deal with local renewable energy company Oando to deploy 12,000 electric buses on the country’s roads. Yutong, the world’s largest electric bus manufacturer, signed a Memorandum of Understanding with Oando last year aimed at improving mass transit infrastructure in Lagos state. The full quota of vehicles plus charging stations is due to be delivered by 2030.
Land & Nature
A group of indigenous-led organizations has released a letter in support of projects to reduce emissions from deforestation and forest degradation, known as REDD+. Four groups – who work with indigenous peoples in over 40 countries – signed the letter, which argues that credits produced by REDD+ projects provide much-needed funding for economic development and climate-related work. The letter also calls for the voices of indigenous and local communities, who are responsible for managing at least half of the forests earmarked for climate-related work globally, to be included more in conversations about REDD+ and carbon credits more broadly.
A responsible commodities program backed by UK supermarkets Sainsbury’s, Tesco and Waitrose has delivered over 42,000 tonnes of ‘deforestation-free soy’ from farms in Brazil in its first year. The Responsible Commodities Facility’s first program, launched in 2022, offers financial incentives to farmers who commit to embracing sustainable approaches to soy cultivation. Its first report shows that 8,541 hectares of native vegetation were conserved through the scheme’s efforts, sequestering 2.9 Mt CO2 and resulting in zero land use change emissions.
Organic Valley is expanding its carbon insetting scheme to its full dairy supply chain in the US. The initiative helps farmers install solar panels, compost manure, and employ agroforestry and other regenerative farming practices, with the company paying the farmers $20 per ton for the carbon they sequester or reduce. After a successful pilot, the scheme will now be rolled out to Organic Valley’s supply chain across 34 US states.
Built Environment & Heavy Industry
The Australian government will allocate $1.4 billion (USD) to support green hydrogen projects by 2030. Launched as part of the government’s budget announcement this week, the funding will provide revenue support to private developers looking to capitalize on the green hydrogen opportunities implied by the country’s rich wind and solar resources. The new measures are a “great first step,” said a Fortescue Metals Group spokesperson.
In the UK, National Grid has shared the successes of its Demand Flexibility Service trial, which rewarded homes and businesses with lower energy bills for avoiding using energy during peak times. Over the course of last winter, 1.6 million homes and businesses participated in the trial, delivering 3,300 MWh of electricity reduction – enough to power over 10 million homes. Some businesses earned up to £8,000 through the scheme by January alone.
And in the US, green hydrogen company Nel announced plans for a vast new plant in Michigan, as it works with General Motors to drive down the cost of renewable hydrogen. Nel will make electrolyzers – devices that split water into hydrogen and oxygen – in the Detroit area to supply up to 4 GW worth of hydrogen each year, and employing 500 people when manufacturing begins in 2025-6. GM is invested in driving down green hydrogen costs in support of its plans to develop hydrogen fuel cells for large vehicles and power generation.
1 company committed to RE100:
Alps Alpine – Japanese manufacturer
10 companies committed to set Net Zero science-based emissions reduction targets:
Catcher Technology Co.,Ltd. – Taiwanese hardware company
Clinigen Limited – UK-based pharmaceutical company
Formue AS – Norwegian financial institution
Olav Thon Gruppen – Norwegian real estate company
Posten Norge AS – Norwegian air freight company
Rejlers AB – Swedish construction company
Shanghai Young Sun Printing Co., Ltd. – Chinese paper company
Telenor Group – Norwegian telecoms company
UNITED CAPS – Luxembourgish packaging company
ZTE Corporation – Chinese hardware company
10 companies committed to set near-term science-based emissions reduction targets:
Amprion GmbH – German electricity utility
Avantor – US-based pharmaceutical company
ICON Plc – Irish pharmaceutical company
InfoVision – Optoelectronics（Kunshan）Co.,LTD – Chinese hardware company
KORIAN – French healthcare company
Rohling Suus Logistics S.A. – Polish air freight company
Schoeller Allibert Services B.V. – Dutch packaging company
SEQENS – French chemical company
Spectre A/S – Danish textiles company
To The New Pvt Ltd – Singaporean software company
7 companies had their science-based targets approved:
BENTELER Group – Austria auto company
Charoen Pokphand Group Co., Ltd. – Thai food company
EllisDon Corporation – Canadian construction company
Honeywell International Inc. – US-based electrical equipment company
MTR Corporation Limited – Hong Kong-based logistics company
Simmons & Simmons – UK-based professional services company
VP Components Co., Ltd. – Taiwanese consumer products company
32 SMEs had their science-based targets approved:
AB Sagax – Swedish real estate company
Baltic Safety Products AB – Swedish trading company
Biofuel Express – Danish electrical equipment company
Classic Cleaning Limited – UK-based trading company
Controlant hf – Icelandic software company
Copeople (Shanghai) culture communication Co,Lt – Chinese professional services company
DONGGUAN GANGRONG HARDWARE CO.,LTD – Chinese consumer products company
Drapho (Kunshan) Electronics Technology Co., Ltd – Chinese electrical equipment company
eee-Taxi Mobility Solutions Pvt Ltd – Indian auto company
Equites Property Fund Limited – South African real estate company
Genova Property Group AB – Swedish real estate company
GLAM.TEX SRL UNIPERSONALE – Italian textiles company
gruppo materia firenze – Italian textiles company
Hydrowear B.V. – Dutch textiles company
Impiger Technologies Private Limited – Indian software company
Intuition IT Solutions Limited – UK-based software company
Ishikawa Plate Co., Ltd. – Japanese construction company
ITRS Group – UK-based software company
Izumitec Co., Ltd. – Japanese trading company
KATOKENSETSU Co.,Ltd. – Japanese construction company
KINUGASA MOKUZAI CO., LTD – Japanese building products company
Lucid Group Communications Ltd – UK-based pharmaceutical company
MATSUMOTO SEISAKUSHO CO., LTD. – Japanese electrical equipment company
MINDSNOB CONSULTING PRIVATE LIMITED – Indian hardware company
Moleskine SRL – Italian trading company
Nagaradengyou Co.,Ltd. – Japanese construction company
NINGBO XINGWEI CUTTING-TOOLS TECHNOLOGY CO.,LTD. – Chinese consumer products company
Novataris A/S – Danish software company
SCREEN FACTS SERVICES PRIVATE LIMITED – Indian professional services company
Sekab BioFuels & Chemicals AB – Swedish chemicals company
SHIMIZUKOGYOU Co,.Ltd. – Japanese construction company
SILENCOR – INDÚSTIAS METÁLICAS, LDA – Portuguese auto company
Total number of companies committed to RE100: 405
Total number of companies committed to EP100: 126
Total number of companies committed to EV100: 127
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: 5,032 (2,385 committed, 2,647 approved)
Total number of SMEs committed to SME Climate Hub: 5,728
Total number of companies committed to The Climate Pledge: 400
Webinars & Events
Ceres LEAD on Climate: May 16-18
FT Moral Money Europe: May 24-25
(20% discount with code WMBC)
Economist Sustainability Week USA: May 30-June 1
(15% discount with code WMBC/MP15)
Various posts at BSR
Various posts at CDP
Various posts at Ceres
Various posts at CLG Europe (CISL)
Various posts at Climate Group
Various posts at WBCSD
Various posts at SBTi