Zero-Carbon Transition – Latest signals of change (25.09.20)We Mean Business coalition
Following Climate Week NYC, here are just some of the signals of change from the past week, demonstrating the transition to a resilient and inclusive zero-carbon future is accelerating.
China’s President Xi Jinping announced the world’s largest emitter is aiming to reach peak emissions before 2030 and for carbon neutrality by 2060. The number of companies committed to the Business Ambition for 1.5ºC has surpassed 290, covering 42 sectors, 9.5 million employees and 49 countries, with new joiners including US online payments company PayPal. The Race to Zero campaign has announced that the number of businesses committed to reach net-zero emissions has roughly doubled in less than a year, to over 1,100. Five more companies have signed the Climate Pledge – the initiative launched by Amazon and Global Optimism, including retailer Best Buy and energy firm Schneider Electric. Amazon announced a new program to help make it easier for customers to switch to more sustainable products through labeling and certifications, called the Climate Pledge Friendly. Walmart has committed to reaching net-zero emissions from its own operations by 2040. Microsoft and Shell have announced plans to collaborate on a range of climate projects, including sustainable aviation and clean energy. The We Mean Business coalition has launched the Climate Leadership Now guide to raise the bar on corporate climate Ambition, Action and Advocacy. The SME Climate Hub has launched to offer tools and guidance to small and medium enterprises looking to set and achieve climate targets, with the complementary launch of the 1.5°C Supply Chain Leaders group. United Nations climate envoy Mark Carney has backed calls for climate risk to be integrated into company financial accounts. Morgan Stanley committed to reach net-zero financed emissions by 2050. And the ‘Big Four’ accounting firms have announced a joint initiative for an ESG standards reporting framework.
US auto giant Ford has committed to the Business Ambition for 1.5ºC campaign, while Volvo Car Group has had its science-based target approved as in line with the 1.5ºC trajectory. Walmart is aiming for net-zero emissions from all its vehicles, including long haul trucks, by 2040. California Governor Gavin Newsom announced that the state will phase out sales of internal combustion engines by 2035. The UK is planning to bring forward its ban on new fossil fuel vehicles to 2030, from 2040. EV100 has welcomed three new members committed to transitioning to electric vehicles, including UK supermarket chain Tesco and UK construction company Costain. Airbus has unveiled three concepts for the world’s first zero-emission commercial hydrogen-powered aircraft, which could enter service by 2035, while the world’s first full-scale hydrogen plane took off in the UK this week. Formula E has become the first sport to achieve a certified net-zero carbon footprint. And Elon Musk has announced a battery breakthrough, which could pave the way for a cheaper Tesla.
The Polish government and miners’ unions agreed a landmark plan to phase out coal mining by 2049. General Electric – one of the world’s biggest makers of coal-fired power plants – has announced plans to exit the coal engineering market. The RE100 initiative, led by the Climate Group and CDP, has surpassed 260 members with latest joiners including Pepsico. The number of companies committed to the Climate Group’s EP100 initiative has surpassed 100, with latest joiners including Japan’s Daito Trust Construction. The mayors of 12 big cities in North America, Europe and Africa pledged to divest from fossil fuels, as part of the C40 campaign. Boris Johnson said he wants to turn the UK into the “Saudi Arabia” of wind power. And scientists have developed a “nanogenerator” to capture wind energy via “tiny wind turbines“.
Zero-Carbon Built Environment & Industry
The world’s largest cement maker LafargeHolcim has signed the Business Ambition for 1.5°C commitment and is partnering with SBTi to develop a roadmap for the sector to achieve a 1.5ºC trajectory. The UK’s Barratt Developments has had its science-based target approved as aligned with 1.5ºC. New York Governor Andrew Cuomo finalized a ban on hydrofluorocarbons – the superpollutant found in refrigerators and air conditioners.
Zero-Carbon Land Use and Nature-Based Solutions
Food giant and Thailand’s largest private company Charoen Pokphand Group has signed the Business Ambition for 1.5°C commitment. More than 560 companies with revenues of $4 trillion – led by Business for Nature – are calling on governments to adopt policies now to reverse nature loss in this decade. The ‘Science Based Targets for Nature‘ guide has been released, designed to help businesses operate “within the Earth’s limits while meeting society’s needs”. Large investment houses including Arisaig Partners and Nordea Asset Management are divesting from dairy and meat producers. A group of the world’s largest food retailers announced that nearly 200 of their major suppliers have committed to cut food waste from the supply chain as part of the “10x20x30” initiative. The Consumer Goods Forum has launched the Forest Positive Coalition of Action to tackle deforestation. And Microsoft has committed to be water positive by 2030.