#NetZeroActionDay - It’s now or never for net-zero

21st Apr 2022

The Science Based Targets initiative (SBTi) is leading a #NetZeroActionDay today, during Earth Week. On this day, we’re celebrating the companies with approved science-based net-zero targets, marking the 1000th company commitment to net-zero and calling on more businesses across the world to play their part in the fight against climate breakdown by submitting net-zero targets.

This year, Earth Day comes only a few short weeks after the release of the IPCC’s latest report. The report tells us that it truly is now or never if we are to mitigate the worst consequences of climate breakdown. A dire and very real warning, but one that should serve to spur organizations to accelerate immediate emissions reductions and to the next level of climate ambition - science-based net-zero.

A trusted way forward

The concept of net-zero has become a cornerstone of corporate climate action, with 90% of global GDP covered by commitments to reach net-zero by 2050. However, without standardization, not all pledges are equal and companies are effectively in the dark about whether their targets are in line with climate science.

We launched the Net-Zero Standard before COP26 in 2021 to turn on the light. The Standard provides companies with a trusted guide to reach net-zero and equips them with the knowledge required to ensure pledges and plans result in action that is aligned with what science says is needed. In October, seven companies spanning different countries and sectors - AstraZeneca (UK), CVS Health (US), Dentsu International (UK), Holcim (Switzerland), JLL (US), Ørsted (Denmark) and Wipro (India) - led the way with the first validated SBTi net-zero targets.

Now, we’re celebrating the validation of the net-zero targets of four more companies - Hellenic Cables (Greece), Jacobs (US), Klockner (Germany) and Moody’s (US), with many more expected in the coming months.

What does the Net-Zero Standard require?

Companies who set net-zero targets in line with the SBTi’s Net-Zero Standard:

  • Have set near-term (5-10 year) science-based emission reduction targets in line with limiting warming to 1.5°C.

  • Have set long-term science-based targets with most companies planning to reduce emissions by at least 90% by no later than 2050.

  • Are engaging in beyond value chain mitigation throughout the process.

  • Must neutralize residual emissions - on average ranging from 0-10% - with permanent carbon removals. Notably, in the Net-Zero Standard, offsets and other forms of removal mechanisms do not count as progress towards long-term science-based targets.

The Net-Zero Standard is intended for corporates with more than 500 employees that wish to set net-zero targets through the SBTi, with a simplified approach offered for SMEs. In April 2022, the SBTi launched the formal process for developing the world’s first Net-Zero Standard for Financial Institutions .

Meet the world’s first net-zero approved companies

  • CVS Health
  • Hellenic Cables
  • Holcim

Visit the Companies Taking Action Table to view the companies' targets.

Continuing the call for action

SBTi’s Net-Zero Standard provides a definitive route for companies to achieve science-based emissions reductions at the pace and scale required in line with the Paris Agreement.

When the Standard was launched in October 2021, around 600 companies had committed to Net-Zero through the Business Ambition for 1.5°C Campaign. Only 6 months later, there are now over 1000 companies committed to setting net-zero targets with the SBTi, and we greatly look forward to reviewing an increasing number of net-zero targets this year with the acceleration of our target approval process.

Although these commitments demonstrate a keen appetite for net-zero transformation, there is still a long journey ahead and more companies must come to the table. Thousands of companies worldwide must set approved science-based net-zero targets if we are to stand a fighting chance of keeping warming to 1.5°C.

So on #NetZeroActionDay and beyond, we are making it clear: we need to see a collective surge of climate ambition from the private sector across the globe. Science-based net-zero targets are a cornerstone of a company’s sustainability journey - sign the commitment letter today to start your organization’s net-zero transformation.

Get your journey to net-zero started with Net-Zero Standard