The heads of nine companies announced the establishment of a new initiative on Tuesday to accelerate the transition to a net zero global economy.
The initiative, Transform to Net Zero, intends to develop and deliver research, guidance and implementable roadmaps to enable all businesses to achieve net zero emissions. Transform to Zero is led by its founding members–A.P. Moller-Maersk, Danone, Mercedes-Benz AG, Microsoft Corp., Natura & Co., Nike Inc., Starbucks, Unilever and Wipro, as well as the Environmental Defense Fund.
The initiative is supported by BSR, which is serving as its secretariat. BSR is a global nonprofit organization that works with its network of more than 250 member companies to build a just and sustainable world.
Transform to Net Zero will focus on enabling the business transformation needed to achieve net zero carbon dioxide emissions no later than 2050, while driving broader change with a focus on policy, innovation and finance. The outputs of the initiative will be widely available to all, though additional companies may join. The group aims to complete the outputs of this work by 2025.
“When it comes to protecting the playing field we share–our planet–there isn’t a moment to lose,” Andy Campion, Nike’s chief operating officer, said. “That’s why we aren’t waiting for solutions to climate change, we’re coming together as global leaders to create them. If we act now and work together, we can drive meaningful progress toward a more sustainable future. We’ll be relentless in our pursuit of ensuring a healthy planet for generations of athletes to come.”
The work will be led by several key principles. They include focusing on transformation, by delivering on individual commitments and translating them into action, which will include corporate strategy, governance and accountability, finance and operations, risk management, procurement, innovation and research and development, marketing, and public affairs.
Led by science and best practice data and methods, the initiative is committed to standardized approaches to achieve what the best available science requires for a 1.5 degree Celsius world; improving the quality and availability of research, data, and tools for all; and achieving the highest return for the climate on investment.
According to the World Meteorological Organization, forecasts suggest there’s a 20 percent chance that global temperatures will be 1.5 degrees Celsius higher than the pre-industrial average between 2020 and 2024. The mark is the level countries agreed to cap global warming at in the 2015 Paris accord.
The initiative also wants to leverage existing efforts to open collaboration with existing net zero programs to advance business transformation to net zero, while through strong governance and oversight at the highest levels of their companies, work to achieve net zero, including through developing innovative products, services and business models.
“Net zero requires emissions reductions across the entire value chain, including impact of products and services and supply chain,” the companies said. “Net zero requires us to achieve greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions reductions aligned with the latest science and increase our capacity for GHG removals in the near term to be the path to get companies and the world to net zero no later than 2050 to ensure a stable climate and will mean a mix of climate-positive actions should be pursued.”
It also said a substantial commitment and willingness to invest in and accelerate innovation to achieve net zero transformation, including partnering with others, will be needed, as will advancing public policy that enables and accelerates progress towards net zero, and engagement with bodies such as trade associations to achieve this objective.
In addition, transparency and accountability is necessary, along with helping to enable conditions needed to achieve effective, just and sustainable climate solutions for people of all genders, race or skills.