Net-zero by 2050
We Mean Business coalition response to the EU Consultation: Future climate and energy policy – a strategy for long term EU greenhouse gas emission reductions
The Paris Agreement is a historic landmark for both international diplomacy and action on climate change. The Agreement sets out an ambition, and a framework, to limit climate change and global temperature rise to well below 2°C, with efforts to limit this to 1.5 °C. Business remains firmly committed to the Paris Agreement recognizing that achieving its aims is critical to a prosperous future for their businesses, employees and customers. Further clarity on the path governments intend to take to achieve its goals will provide the certainty they need to accelerate their actions and investments.
To be Paris compliant, and to have any hope of limiting temperature rise to 1.5 °C, it is clear from the latest science that global emissions must now fall to net-zero as early as possible. For the EU and other leading economies, whose vision and direction is essential, the achievement of net-zero emissions must therefore be by 2050 at the latest. Forward-looking businesses are taking this ambition on board by committing to 100% renewable electricity, electric vehicles and setting science-based emissions reduction targets in line with the Paris Agreement, with many already going further by setting their own net-zero by 2050 strategies. These businesses are harnessing climate action as a driver of innovation, competitiveness, risk management and growth.
The transition to a climate-safe world with net-zero emissions is unstoppable and has already begun. Examining operations, supply chains and business models highlights the opportunities for innovation and efficiency that can make business more competitive and resilient in the 21st century. Businesses that are reinventing their operations to be fit for the future are positioning to be leaders for the markets of tomorrow, ensuring they are competitive, relevant and profitable.
While many businesses recognize the strategic imperative to act on climate, not all are acting and those who are could go further faster. Often they are slowed down or disincentivized by a lack of clear, long-term signals and supporting policies from Governments and policy makers to drive the transition to a zero-emissions economy at the required pace and scale. European leaders should now seize the opportunity to demonstrate their climate commitment and leadership, and provide that clarity, through the EU long-term strategy.
Ambitious long-term strategies that inform shorter-term government policy play a critical role in informing business decisions, encouraging the investment and creativity that will help build a zero emissions and climate-resilient future, and avoiding stranded assets and mis-investments.
Recognizing this, we call on the European Commission to develop a strong, credible and appropriate 2050 strategy that:
1. Is consistent with the Paris Agreement’s goals and the UN Sustainable Development Goals and aims for net-zero emissions as early as possible. The EU and other leading economies should aim to achieve this by 2050 at the latest.
2. Maximizes certainty for business, investors and society as a whole, through taking a comprehensive and credible approach, including sector and industry specific pathways, covering the entire economy and society.
3. Is developed and implemented in an open, transparent and consultative way, with governments working in partnership with all stakeholders including businesses, civil society, employers, investors, trade unions, sub-national, regional and local authorities.
4. Plans for a just transition by aligning climate policies with social and employment planning so that impacts on workers in high emitting sectors are managed, and the building of new decent jobs in green industries is prioritized.
5. Will be regularly reviewed, in line with the Paris Agreement cycle, to ensure it is kept up to date, reflects the latest economic, scientific and technological developments and system transformations, and is on track to achieve the agreed goals.
Businesses that have placed climate action and sustainable business models at the heart of what they do are actively building the economy of the future. They believe that climate risk can be successfully managed, and that the transition to a net-zero emission economy will create new economic opportunities. To harness these opportunities, governments and businesses must work together to ensure that good quality plans aligned with the ambition of the Paris Agreement are created and implemented making clear how the goals of Paris Agreement will be pursued and achieved.
The transition to a zero carbon economy is inevitable. Now is the time for companies to start preparing for a zero carbon future.Jill Duggan, Director of The Prince of Wales’s Corporate Leaders Group
This milestone [Paris] Agreement is an important step in ensuring we can maintain quality of life on our planet for future generations.Neil McArthur, CEO Arcadis
Now businesses are enabled to work together with governments and communities to shape the policies and take the actions necessary to transition to a low carbon future.Richard Lancaster, CEO of CLP
We are entering an era of system transformation. Business is already playing a leadership role through global collaboration and low carbon partnership initiatives to drive innovation and structural change.Peter Bakker, President of WBCSD
The global transition to a low-carbon economy is urgent, inevitable, and accelerating faster than we ever believed possible.Paul Polman, CEO of Unilever and Chairman of the World Business Council for Sustainable Development
We are already not only bending the curve of emissions but actually already in a global consensus about the inevitability of the major shift that will occur in this century.Christiana Figueres
Investors are interested in our total water stewardship as it is directly linked to our business strategy, long-term growth and company acceptance.Coca-Cola HBC
In anticipation of changing weather patterns and potential shortages of water, we have made water efficiency a key strategic ambition shaping our product range.Syngenta
Water risks pose social, environmental and ultimately financial risks. Therefore it is obligatory for all sites, affiliates and operations to include a water risk assessment within their overall risk assessment procedures.Roche Holding
As corporations make an effort to enhance energy productivity there will be innovation and development of new technologies that will change the way we live and work.Anirban Ghosh, CSO, Mahindra Group
We find that many of our suppliers can reduce their energy consumption by 5% or more with basic training and implementation of low-cost/no-cost improvement measures.Clay Nesler, Vice President for Global Energy & Sustainability at Johnson Controls
Reducing energy consumption will be the primary vehicle in achieving our goals. We are very pleased to be the first property company to sign up to EP100, ensuring we will increase our energy productivity for the benefit of our customers.Robert Noel, Chief Executive, Land Securities
For a company with our global footprint, increasing our energy productivity by two-thirds as we have done since 2002 means that we are spending over US$100 million less in energy bills each year than if our energy productivity had remained constant.Clay Nesler, Vice President for Global Energy & Sustainability at Johnson Controls
Going 100% renewable will deliver on our consumer promise to deliver brands that are responsibly produced in a world of finite resources.Marc Engel, Chief Supply Chain Officer, Unilever
Climate change is a huge risk to the long-term supply of safe, high quality ingredients for Nestlé’s products as crop yields fall and production areas shift. We are determined to play our part in taking climate action by purchasing renewable electricity.Pascal Gréverath, Head of Environmental Sustainability, Nestlé
Renewable energy plays a key role in achieving our ongoing commitment to carbon neutrality, as we aim to use 100% renewable energy to meet our global electricity needs by 2020.Anthony Cammarata, Managing Director, Goldman Sachs
Electricity costs are one of the largest components of our operating expenses at our data centers, and having a long-term stable cost of renewable power provides protection against price swings in energy.Urs Hölzle, Senior Vice President, Technical Infrastructure, Google
By investing in renewables we can not only reduce our emissions but also future proof the business.Laurel Peacock, Senior Manager of Sustainability, NRG
We wouldn’t be doing this if it didn’t make business and economic sense… It is the way the market is trending and what our customers are demanding.Laurel Peacock, Senior Manager of Sustainability, NRG
Our target puts us in a good position vis-à-vis government regulation. We are fully compliant with the UK government’s existing targets, and would be well placed were they to introduce more stringent regulation for companies.Tom Byrne, Energy Manager at Land Securities
We want to know how exposed a particular business is to the changing context on climate and what it is practically doing to make the changes required; including its targets, timeframes and the extent of its ambition.Andy Howard, Head of Sustainable Research at Schroders
By doubling the efficiency of our US fleet [over five years], Walmart avoided the emission of nearly 650,000 metric tons of CO², while also saving nearly US$1 billion in the past fiscal year.Rob Walton, Walmart
Ambitious greenhouse gas reduction goals help our teams rally around low-carbon innovation. Of course knowing that our goals are backed by the current climate research increases buy-in and commitment at all levels of the company.Alexandra Palt, Chief Sustainability Officer, L’Oreal
We are working towards building a clean energy future. Expanding the share of renewables is key to addressing the chronic energy crisis our country is facing today.Ramadas Kamath, Executive Vice President and Head – Infrastructure and Sustainability, Infosys
I believe that companies are, above all, agents of transformation. We all work at an intersection of economic, political, social and environmental dimensions and have either positive or negative impacts on all of them.Guilherme Leal, B Team Leader and one of the founders of Natura Cosméticos
I spend a lot of my time saying to business leaders, we are citizens of the world. We cannot just leave things to the social sector and to the politicians to speak up about these climate change issues. We have as much clout as they, if not more than some of them, and we have the responsibility to speak out. And it makes good business sense.Richard Branson, Founder, Virgin Group
…we’re working in partnerships even with our competitors, but also with governments and other industries. But to help us get there, we need policymakers to play their role. We need them to give us certainty. We need them to level out the playing field.Hannah Jones, Vice President Sustainable Business & Innovation, Nike
When it comes to climate change, there is some concern about the regulatory policy system. We’re fearful of sudden government interaction. Nothing happens for four or five years and suddenly you are slammed with a huge regulatory system that you were unprepared for. Better to introduce it carefully and voluntarily now – rather than have it unleashed upon us.Mike Barry, Director of Sustainable Business, Marks & Spencer
From a policy perspective, General Motors and businesses in general look for long-term certainty and clarity. When you get the market, the customers, our products and policy all aligned, that’s when you can drive true transformation of an industry.David Tulauskas, Director Sustainability, General Motors
Two fiscal policy tools can drive decarbonisation: carbon pricing and the end of fossil fuel subsidies. Paying a price for emissions while, at the same time, encouraging the activity that causes them is perverse.Sandrine Dixson-Declève, Director of The Prince of Wales’s Corporate Leaders Group
No CEO would survive if they said climate change is not realMike Bloomberg, Former NYS Mayor
Moving capital toward a low-carbon economy protects their beneficiaries’ returns, and is one of the fastest ways to address global warming. Companies take note when investors take action, and when money moves, the world moves too.Lance Pierce, President of CDP North America
California’s political and business leaders arrived (in Paris) with the clear conviction that climate is not only real, but demands action. Our experience offers a wealth of practical lessons for how to make rapid, sustainable progress toward the clean energy future.Tony Earley, Chairman, CEO and President, PG&E
Science shows that climate change will reduce food productivity and food security at the same time our world’s population is growing and requiring us to feed more people with fewer natural resources.John Bryant, CEO, Kellogg Company
As a global food company, we recognize the significant impacts climate change can have on our business if left unaddressed.Ken Powell, CEO, General Mills
(Climate change) is absolutely a threat. And that’s why we’re doing all that we’re doing today.Barry Parkin, CSO, Mars
I think what we’ve shown already in North Carolina is that when you provide the incentives – the investments tax credits for solar; when you have the renewable energy portfolio — it works.Letitia Webster, Senior Director, VF
Low-carbon, sustainable investments are key to our future.Tom DiNapoli, New York State Comptroller
We want the underlying companies in our ($300 billion) portfolio to be aligned with the transition to a low-carbon global economy.Anne Simpson, Global Governance Investment Director, CalPERS
If you can do one thing for me today, please, never refer to clean energy as “alternative energy” again.Michael Liebreich, Founder & Chairman of Bloomberg New Energy Finance Advisory Board
Getting to the Paris Agreement was the easy component, it meant setting the starting line. Now we have to turn those intentions into implemented activities and projects.Christiana Figueres, Executive Secretary, UNFCCC
There seems to be a tendency to believe that now that the Paris Agreement is done, it is now up to governments. But the real action starts now. The business community and civil society need to push governments so that they will keep this agreement.Ban Ki-Moon, Secretary-General, United Nations
The once unthinkable has now become unstoppable. This train is moving. It started at the Paris station, it has to go and move.Ban Ki-Moon, Secretary-General, United Nations
The entry into force of the Paris Agreement just ten months after COP21 is a defining moment for the global economy.Paul Polman, CEO of Unilever and Chairman of the World Business Council for Sustainable Development
This milestone Paris Agreement is an important step in ensuring we can maintain quality of life on our planet for future generations.Neil McArthur, CEO Arcadis
The significance of the Paris Agreement and its universal impact cannot be underestimated. The transition to a zero carbon economy is inevitable. Now is the time for companies to start preparing for a zero carbon future.Jill Duggan, Director of The Prince of Wales’s Corporate Leaders Group