Picking Up the Pace: Accelerating Business Action to Net-Zero by 2040María Mendiluce, CEO of the We Mean Business coalition
The We Mean Business coalition is proud to announce a new partnership with Amazon. Together we will encourage companies to take a leadership position and accelerate climate goals to reach net-zero emissions by 2040 through The Climate Pledge, drive supply chain action to tackle scope 3 emissions and support the development of a robust approach to Nature Based Solutions for business.
We are at a critical moment in our shared history. We are facing a multitude of threats to our well-being and even survival: escalating impacts from the climate crisis, the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic coupled with severe economic turbulence and the potential breakdown of the natural systems that we rely on.
We know what we must do. The call for action from the scientific community, the societies we serve and the economic fundamentals are increasingly aligned and getting louder. We need to build back better, radically accelerate climate action and halve global emissions by 2030. This is the decisive decade when we still have a chance to create a resilient and inclusive zero-carbon economy that leaves no-one behind.
Harnessing the Race to Zero now will deliver long-term growth, create jobs and mitigate the multiple risks we face. Failure to act at the required speed and scale will only bring more disastrous health impacts, more economic turmoil and greater inequality.
Thanks to the long-term vision of the IKEA Foundation, which provided generous support to help establish the We Mean Business coalition and continues to enable our impact today, the coalition has driven unprecedented levels of corporate commitment to tackle the climate crisis.
Through initiatives created by our coalition partners, including the Science Based Targets initiative (SBTi) and RE100, more than 1,200 of the world’s largest and most influential companies have stepped up to set bold climate targets and are now making strides to deliver against them — reaping the benefits that bold climate action brings along the way.
Now is the time to pick up the pace. We must go further and faster to put the world on track to avert the worst impacts of the climate crisis. We must build on our successes and push forward to ensure we have the best chance of limiting global warming to a maximum of 1.5ºC.
If we are to truly reach our shared objectives, the number of companies joining the Race to Zero must grow exponentially – including the millions of small and medium sized enterprises (SMEs) that make up over 95% of all companies around the world.
The Climate Pledge
As a core part of our shared effort to accelerate climate action, I’m proud to announce that the We Mean Business coalition has partnered with The Climate Pledge, the commitment co-founded by Amazon and Global Optimism to reach net-zero carbon emissions by 2040 – a decade ahead of the Paris Agreement.
All companies must set targets through the SBTi, and we urge them to commit to reducing emissions in line with holding global warming at 1.5°C through the SBTi’s Business Ambition for 1.5°C campaign. We need to more than halve global emissions in the next decade, and setting science-based targets in line with 1.5°C means companies start reducing their emissions today at the pace and scale that science tells us is necessary.
Through The Climate Pledge, companies can build on this and go further, faster. With a commitment to collaboration and innovation, those at the head of the pack can reach net-zero emissions by 2040, at the latest. The combination of bringing forward the end date for reaching net-zero emissions and harnessing the power of innovation will be key to achieving our shared goals.
The companies that commit to The Climate Pledge and set science-based emission reduction targets aligned with the 1.5ºC trajectory will be counted in the Race to Zero in the lead-up to the United Nations Climate Change Conference (COP26). We will also encourage companies to participate in Countdown, a global initiative to champion and accelerate solutions to the climate crisis, powered by TED and Future Stewards, which is a collaboration among Global Optimism, Leaders’ Quest and the We Mean Business coalition.
Amazon’s own climate action strategy demonstrates the bold climate leadership that we need from companies now. Amazon is committed to net-zero carbon by 2040, and last month committed to set science-based targets through the Science Based Targets initiative. It is also on track to be powered by 100% renewable energy by 2025, five years ahead of schedule and backing up its commitments with a $2 Billion Climate Pledge Fund to invest in companies building products, services, and technologies to decarbonize the economy.
Enabling Companies to Deliver
As part of delivering on the ambitious goals of The Climate Pledge, we need to unlock two key challenges together.
- We know that Nature Based Solutions can deliver more than a third of the emissions reductions we need by 2030 to meet the Paris Agreement. Alongside deep decarbonization strategies, a credible, science-based approach to Nature Based Solutions is critical if companies are going to deliver net-zero emissions by 2040.
- SMEs represent 95% of the global economy but as of now there is no standardized place for them to engage in climate action. They play a critical role in the supply chains of major companies, to effectively tackle scope 3 emissions we will need to work together to accelerate their plans to decarbonize.
Nature Based Solutions
Reaching net-zero by 2040 across the global economy is an unprecedented challenge. It requires companies, industries and entire economies to radically change and rapidly cut emissions. It also requires working alongside nature to solve our most pressing environmental and social challenges.
Nature Based Solutions are a fundamental part of delivering emissions reductions and can almost halve emissions from agriculture, forestry and land-use sectors by 2030, while sequestering more emissions than those some industries currently emit, according to Exponential Roadmap.
Source: Exponential Roadmap
In addition to producing vital goods and services in a truly sustainable way, it’s nature’s capacity for carbon removal that will ultimately enhance our ability to reach net-zero within 20 years.
Our vision is that Nature Based Solutions, sometimes referred to as Natural Climate Solutions, can contribute their full potential towards business’ net-zero goals. We can advance towards this vision by working on three levers: ensuring a supply of high-quality credits founded on rigorous ecological principles; structuring effective markets and building a credible demand where Nature Based Solutions are part of a company climate strategy that prioritizes mitigation.
SMEs and Supply Chains
SMEs form the building blocks of the entire global economy. Mobilising SMEs at the grassroots to take decisive climate action is vital if we are to achieve net-zero by 2040.
SMEs not only hold the key to large scale decarbonization because of their sheer number, but because they make up the supply chains of many of the world’s largest companies. They are also a vital route to effective community engagement and to encouraging governments to align with net-zero targets.
As a core part of our partnership with The Climate Pledge, we are committed to work with both major multinationals and SMEs, directly and through partnerships, to provide frameworks and toolkits for action and reporting progress. This includes developing clear and concise guiding principles that can be applied easily without adding administrative burden, while helping to unlock the business benefits of climate action for even the smallest of companies.
All companies and organizations must seize the opportunity to work together towards our shared objectives, because only with a spirit of open collaboration can we truly create a resilient and inclusive net-zero economy that leaves no-one behind.
This partnership marks a decisive moment for the We Mean Business coalition, where we can better harness the collective potential of the private sector to grow our impact exponentially. Winning the Race to Zero will require a lot of courage, courage to go above and beyond what we can possibly do, courage to tackle the challenges we anticipate and we face, courage to drive unprecedented collaboration.