Corporate commitments to 1.5°C and net zero ramp up on World Environment Day
5 June 2020
This year’s World Environment Day falls at a time of great turmoil around the world.
Economies and societies are reeling from the effects of the COVID-19 pandemic and many governments are still tackling a raging health crisis. Communities in eastern India and Bangladesh have been devastated by the most powerful cyclone to hit the region in decades. Racism continues to be prevalent in our societies, with civil unrest unfolding in the United States following yet another instance of shocking police violence against an unarmed Black person. We urgently need to dismantle racist structures and reform racist institutions, and recognize that corporate responsibility extends not only to climate action but also to universal respect and support for human rights. There can be no climate justice without social justice.
Against this backdrop, climate change looms as a grave threat and the clock is ticking to avoid its most devastating impacts. The science says it is critical to slash global emissions by more than half in the next decade, meaning business as usual is no longer an option.
Major businesses are ramping up their climate ambition
Leading businesses are showing that it is possible to reduce emissions in line with what the science says is required, and even amidst uncertainty and disruption, momentum continues to build.
Today, the SBTi and its Business Ambition for 1.5°C campaign is thrilled to announce that it now counts 237 companies in its ranks, a 34% increase on the 177 companies announced at COP25 last December.
New joiners we’re unveiling today include some of the world’s biggest multinationals and household brands, including H&M Group, Colgate Palmolive, Rolls Royce, Diageo, Adobe and Capgemini.
The 237 companies are headquartered in 44 countries and span 37 sectors, including some of the highest emitting like air transportation, power, chemicals and mining. They have combined annual direct emissions of nearly 400 million tons of CO2e, equivalent to the emissions of 102 coal-fired power plants.
These companies are pledging to set climate targets in line with limiting global temperature rise to 1.5°C above pre-industrial levels and reaching net-zero emissions by no later than 2050. As the global economy transforms to zero carbon, these will be the companies that are best placed to manage risk, build resilience against future shocks, and thrive.
The 237 companies also become founder members of the UNFCCC Champions for Climate Action’s new Race to Zero campaign, which mobilizes non-state leadership around aligning targets with net zero in the run-up to COP26 in November 2021, a critical moment for governments to raise their ambition.
All companies must take action for #OurOnlyFuture
This World Environment Day it is encouraging to see so many companies stepping up and raising their ambition for a 1.5°C future. Our only future. We hope other companies will be inspired by their leadership and we urge many more to join them, and fast.
The next few years are absolutely critical in our efforts to prevent dangerous, runaway climate change and build the sustainable, just future we have in our sights.
This means tackling the climate, inequality and health crises in equal measure — ending business as usual and building thriving economies and societies that work for people and planet.