UK can nonetheless meet local weather ambitions if all massive companies in set 1.5C science-based targets
Unless all of the UK’s major corporations create and implement decarbonization plans within two years in line with the 1.5C rate of the Paris Agreement, the country risks falling short of its long-term net-zero target.
UK based companies with 1.5C targets only account for 3% of annual national company-related emissions
This emerges from a new report by Sky and WWF, which was produced in collaboration with CDP and Natural Capital Partners. The report is entitled “Corporate Ambition Meets Net-Zero Mission” and was published today (October 22nd).
Corporations are responsible for two-thirds of the UK’s domestic land-based emissions annually, with large corporations making up the largest proportion, according to the report.
So if all big companies set science-based targets in line with 1.5C by 2023, half of the emissions reductions needed to reach net zero by 2050 would come from the private sector.
The net-zero scenario used in the report is the Climate Change Committee (CCC) balanced net-zero path, moving forward in terms of absolute emissions reductions, with a 78% reduction from a 1990 baseline by 2035 This path forms the basis of the UK’s carbon budget and the CCC has taken just transition principles into account in developing it.
The report warns that any delay in rising corporate ambitions and net-zero transition measures could jeopardize the country’s progress as a whole. Had all companies in the UK adopted science-based climate targets in line with 1.5 ° C in 2019, the country could have achieved a 78% reduction in emissions from 1990 levels by 2030.
While the number of companies with science-based targets has grown rapidly in recent years – there are more than 950 ambitions for 1.5C worldwide, up from just three in 2018 – the new report finds that the total share of UK corporate emissions is currently is covered by approved science-based goals is only 3%.
UK based companies with 1.5C oriented approved destinations include Asos, Compass Group, Diageo, Go-Ahead, Grosvenor, EY, Tesco, AstraZeneca, British Land and Landsec.
The report calls on all other companies to follow in their footsteps by the end of 2023, developing transition plans as well as net zero ambitions and supporting science-based goals. Transition plans define how a company wants to invest, approach skills, what facilities it operates and possibly change new business models. They usually also contain information about how workers and local communities are supported.
HM Treasury confirmed this week that the publication of transition plans for large companies in selected sectors with high emissions will be mandatory. The report urges the government to follow up on this commitment with a clear timetable for implementation before COP26.
WWF Director of Sustainable Economics, Karen Ellis, said, “Businesses are key to ensuring that government delivers on its climate promises. Reducing our climate emissions in line with the goals of the Paris Agreement is still achievable, but it requires swift action and leadership from government and all business lines. ”
Fiona Ball, Director of Bigger Picture at Sky, added, “This report underscores that the fight against climate change cannot be won by a handful of companies. If we want to protect the planet for future generations, we cannot afford to postpone meaningful measures. “
The Science-Based Targets Initiative (SBTi) is increasing the minimum target setting requirements from 2 ° C to 1.5 ° C in the light of current climate science. All companies and financial institutions that submit targets from July 15, 2022 must align themselves with the new criteria. Any company whose 2C targets were approved in 2020 or earlier will have until 2025 to update the targets.
The WWF and Sky report follows a fairly busy week of getting SBTi approval for corporate goals.
Companies that received confirmation this week include the BBC, which announced plans to reduce direct emissions by 46% by 2030 and indirect emissions by 28% over the same period before offsetting emissions to net To reach zero. Other goal setters are:
- Chemical company Johnson Matthey, which will reduce Scope 1 and Scope 2 emissions by 33% by 2030 and Scope 3 emissions from purchased goods and services by 20% over the same period. The new targets are 2C-aligned.
- Forsters LLP, a real estate and personal wealth law firm committed to halving emissions in all areas by 2030 from 2019 baseline.
- Materials science and manufacturing giant Avery Denison, which will reduce Scope 1 and Scope 2 emissions by 70% by 2030 and Scope 3 emissions from goods and services purchased and product disposal by 2030, baseline, the latter, a 2018 baseline.
- Finnish pulp and paper company Stora Enso, which will cut operational emissions in half by 2030 compared to 2019 baseline. The same ambition was set for all Scope 3 emissions. These goals are 1.5C aligned.
- Dutch multinational engineering and project management consultancy Royal HaskoningDHV, which will reduce emissions from offices and business travel by 80% by 2030.
- Dubai-based logistics and transport company Aramex, which has committed to setting goals aligned with 2C within 24 months. Only five other companies in the United Arab Emirates have made this commitment.