Leading businesses raise the bar for 1.5°C climate ambition

21st Sep 2020

By the Science Based Targets initiative

We are at the beginning of a critical decade for climate action and so far 2020 has presented us with significant challenges. COVID-19 has impacted us all with far reaching consequences for our communities and economies. The importance of responding to systemic risk and building resilience has never been clearer.

At a time where it is more vital than ever that companies incorporate climate action into all aspects of their operations and supply chains in order to rapidly reduce their emissions, business leaders are listening.

As Climate Week kicks off today in New York City we can announce that 294 companies spanning 49 countries and with almost 9.5 million employees have now committed to set climate targets aligned with limiting global temperature rise to 1.5°C above pre-industrial levels and reaching net-zero emissions by no later than 2050.

Despite the huge challenges that businesses worldwide have encountered in the face of the COVID-19 pandemic, 58 new companies have ramped up their ambition and joined Business Ambition for 1.5°C since World Environment Day in June.

These include major US companies committing to reduce their emissions in line with a 1.5°C future such as Ford, the first major automotive company to join the campaign and the first US automaker to align its ambition with 1.5°C. Social media giant Facebook last week announced a commitment to reach net-zero emissions across their value chain by 2030 as well as committing to a 1.5°C aligned science-based target through the Science Based Targets initiative (SBTi).

Other big US brands to join Business Ambition for 1.5°C include online payments company PayPal, food company General Mills which owns brands Haagen-Dazs and Betty Crocker, and PVH Corp which owns major labels Tommy Hilfiger and Calvin Klein.

Other recent announcements include Biogen, Boston Consulting Group, Lightsource BP, Mastercard, Swisscom and The VELUX Group.

In Asia, 36 companies have made commitments through Business Ambition for 1.5°C, 22 of which joined this year. This includes Japanese companies such as retailers MARUI Group and ASKUL Corporation, Asia’s biggest food company CP Group, software company Nomura Research Institute, energy giant Kokusai and brewery Kirin Holdings.

In China, semiconductors equipment company LONGi Green Energy Technology, software services 37 Interactive Entertainment and Alaya Consulting have all committed to emissions reductions aligned with 1.5°C.

Also joining this year from India are telecoms giant Bharti Airtel Limited, automotive major Mahindra and software company Vakrangee Limited.

The big news for the built environment comes with today’s announcement that the biggest cement maker in the world, LafargeHolcim has committed to reduce emissions in line with reaching net-zero by no later than 2050, becoming the first global building materials company to join the Business Ambition for 1.5°C campaign with approved intermediate targets for 2030 in line with net-zero. LafargeHolcim’s new targets send a powerful message to the entire building sector that decarbonisation of this critical energy intensive sector is possible.

It’s more vital than ever that companies and policy makers harness climate action as a key driver of resilience and economic recovery. For companies, this means developing a leadership position to help build a resilient and inclusive zero-carbon economy, as well as future-proof growth.

By setting a science-based target in line with a 1.5°C future, businesses can make their critical and necessary contribution to limiting the worst impacts of climate change.

These companies are sending a clear message to business leaders that cutting greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions across all sectors of the economy is possible and essential to building the resilient, healthy and thriving economies of the future.