Net-zero target setting is accelerating across cities, regions and companies in every continent. The trend shows no sign of slowing. According to the latest report of The New Climate Institute, there is a threefold increase in the number of businesses setting net zero goals. Specifically, the number of companies that have pledged to be carbon neutral increased from 500 at the end of 2019 to 1,565 in October 2020. Moreover, it is estimated that the carbon offset market could hit $1.4 trillion annually in 20 years, a five-thousand fold increase from $247.9 million in 2020.
With countries legally-binding net-zero emissions targets, companies feel the urge to follow them. Amazon set a carbon-neutral target by 2040. Apple is more ambitious, saying it will get there by 2030. These are two of the multiple multinational companies setting carbon neutral goals. Smaller companies can pursue carbon-neutrality just like any other firm.
The main process is the same for every company: measuring your emissions; set an ambition; take action by reducing and offsetting those emissions. However, the approach is the one that determines the result.
Here are some common mistakes that a company needs to avoid throughout the process:
Forget Scope 3 emissions
Most companies aren’t required by law to report on Scope 3 emissions, which are indirect emissions from the supply chain, transportation of products, product disposal and more. According to CDP, Scope 3 emissions are on average 11.4 times higher than their operational emissions. This means that the majority of emissions are not checked.
Setting a target without changing your business practices
Approach net zero with integrity. Publish measurable interim targets and make the targets for Scopes 1, 2 and 3 more specific.
Low standards for transparency among net-zero targets can result in greenwashing. There is a significant risk that untransparent net-zero targets may mislead citizens, consumers and investors. It is also important to choose wisely the language to present your targets. If you aim net zero emissions, then it’s nothing other than net zero. If you aim to something else, change the way you communicate it.
Not making public disclosures
Keeping your strategy secret can affect your transparency. Brands must be honest and public disclosure is key.
Carbon neutrality plays a vital role in addressing the climate crisis. Even companies in emissions-intensive industries, such as fossil fuels, are setting ambitious targets.
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