The Net Zero Tracker (NZT) has celebrated passing the halfway mark in terms of the largest 2,000 publicly listed companies having a net zero target – yet warns that more ambition needs to be shown.
The open-source reviewer noted that 1,003 of the Forbes Global 2000 list of companies had net zero targets in place, up from 702 in June 2022.
The milestone, which Net Zero Tracker described as ‘significant’, represents two thirds (66%) of the annual revenue of the world’s largest 2,000 companies, with aggregate annual revenue covered by net zero targets at $27 trillion (£21.7tn).
Yet NTZ warned that, in spite of good numbers on the quantity of corporate target-setting, the ‘integrity of company mitigation targets should urgently improve’ if they are to fall into line with Paris Agreement targets.
In NTZ’s most recent Net Zero Stocktake report, published in June, the organisation found just over a third (37%) of corporate net zero targets fully covered Scope 3 emissions, on a self-reporting basis. Only 4% of company net zero commitments met the revised ‘starting line criteria’, which reiterate minimal procedural requirements for all members, including coverage of all greenhouse gases and all emission scopes, as well as clear conditions set for the use of offsets.
“While most companies set net zero pledges with good intentions, many of the pledges are still based on self-defined emission boundaries and scope and thus not aligned with the global net zero emission goal of the Paris Agreement,” said Dr Takeshi Kuramochi, senior climate policy researcher at NewClimate Institute in a statement.
“Many companies need to urgently refine their pledges and implementation strategies in line with the UN Expert Group’s recent markers of credibility and other Paris-aligned standards,” added Kuramochi.
With regard to the UK, almost all of the 77 UK-based companies in the Forbes 2000 (94%) had set net zero targets. Only two – private equity firm 3i and clothing company Beira – have not set any mitigation targets, NTZ claimed.
These figures come amidst policy changes from the UK government around net zero, which included rolling back the 2030 phase-out of new petrol and diesel cars and vans, as well as delaying the purchase of new gas boilers. The Climate Change Committee (CCC) warned in its annual report that the UK had lost its global leadership position on net zero.
“A clear line in the sand on net zero has surfaced,” said John Lang, project lead at the Net Zero Tracker. “Countless net zero targets are credibility light, but now we can say for certain that most of the world’s largest companies have shifted to the right side of the line on net zero intent.”
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