A net zero target is the goal of achieving net zero emissions by a certain time. Net zero emissions is the balance between the greenhouse gases that have been emitted and the offsets that have brought those emissions to zero. Zero carbon is when no GHGs were emitted to begin with. Successful carbon reduction strategies include lower emissions targets every year until zero emissions are achieved.
Companies with net zero pledges have signed commitments and have promised to take action on them. Signing a pledge to deliver a net zero commitment includes the following criteria:
Orange has made an ambitious pledge to achieve net zero ratings by 2040 by aligning themselves with recommendations from the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change. They plan to reduce emissions by 30% between 2015 and 2025. They also have planned on having 50% renewable energy in their electric source mix by 2025 to be able to achieve their goal. Additionally, in the past ten years, they have been able to reduce their carbon emissions by 35%. Since buildings and transport account for 20% of their energy, they have switched to 2,540 hybrid and electric cars in their fleet to reduce CO2 emissions by 34%. Video conferencing with other Orange locations also allows them to reduce carbon emissions by 25%. Finally, to promote a circular economy they will have incorporated 20% of reconditioned equipment into their strategy by 2025. Orange also strives to remain agile so they can respond to ecosystems and environmental necessities in their strategies.
Moreover, Orange gets involved with scientific research programs to better the planet such as Orange Marine for ocean climate protection in partnership with Euro-Argo and their partnership with the NGO CREA Mont-Blanc that works with Alpine ecosystem protection due to climate change and humans' impact on the environment, for environmental monitoring and data collection.
Brambles, a supply chain logistics company serving more than 60 countries has begun to implement their strategy for net zero carbon supply chain solutions.
They have joined the "UN Race to Zero Campaign, the largest alliance of local governments, businesses, investors and others aiming for zero emissions in the 2040s." - reported by the UNFCCC.
Part of their scheme is the use of the CHEP (a Brambles Company) Carbon Neutral Quarter Pallet in Europe and the Carbon Neutral Half Pallet in North America, that ensure carbon offsetting in these areas while engaging with vendors from communities that protect important ecosystems and encourage overall healthy lifestyles for the employees producing them and their surroundings.
"Use of the Carbon Neutral Quarter Pallet supports the Uganda Community Reforestation project working with 6,000 farmers to improve financial security and build sustainable livelihoods through community based tree planting programmes, sequestering 8,222 tonnes of CO2."
"Use of the Carbon Neutral Half Pallet supports the Mississippi Alluvial Valley Reforestation project in replanting one million hectares of native woodland to restore one of North America’s most important ecosystems, sequestering 926 tonnes of CO2."
Brambles also thrives on building partnerships with other corporations in numerous countries to achieve the most sustainable results without compromising value and quality. In Belgium, CHEP, partnered with Coca-Cola Enterprises, Colruyt and Van Dievel to reduce the distance logistics trucks have to travel, resulting in a 30% carbon emissions reduction so far.
Siemens AG, a member of WorldGBC’s Corporate Advisory Board, has signed the commitment to be net zero carbon by 2030.
According to WorldGBC, "The global company focuses on intelligent infrastructure for buildings and decentralised energy systems, automation and digitalisation in the process and manufacturing industries, and smart mobility solutions for rail and road transport."
Not only is Siemens committed to a net zero world, but they help their clients as much as possible to do the same. Up until now, they have already reduced 54% of their carbon footprint, invested 65 million euros in energy-efficient products, saving 13 million euros annually, and 70% of electricity consumption on their global sites is done off of renewables.
There are countless corporate, community, and resource projects that Siemens is handling at the moment towards a net zero goal in the next ten years. With their Energy Efficiency Program to help clients that responsibly do their part to optimize building sustainability, they are leading the way in the energy industry to net zero and plan to be a model for what can be achieved by others to make a difference.
Furthermore, The Siemens Advanced Microgrid Research and Demonstration Lab in Princeton is a completely carbon-neutral research campus that functions off of microgrids that have been installed all over the world for various campuses to create on-site energy that is affordable and accessible.
"The Siemens project is both a working campus and open laboratory that helps to raise the awareness and understanding of the importance of interconnected power infrastructures. The project is being closely watched as a possible model for setting distributed energy resilience and decarbonization trends over the next 15 years.” - Seth Shultz, Global Executive Director, The Resilience Shift. Their R&D team aims to make the microgrid market an achievable, sustainable energy supply for the world, to get to net zero as soon as possible.
City Developments Limited (CDL), a global real estate company from Singapore, "has formally committed to only owning and developing net zero carbon operational assets under direct control by 2030," according to the World Green Building Council. CDL has been working since 1995 to build low-carbon and resilient buildings and aims to achieve net zero ratings by 2030 by investing in 100% renewable energy and will only offset as a last resort. They are the first large Southeast Asian business to sign WorldGBC's commitment.
LafargeHolcim is the first building materials company to sign the Science Based Targets initiative (SBTi) to keep global warming as close to 1.5C as possible. They aim to be the leader of green construction. They have already made different cement products to be able to reduce carbon emissions significantly by 2030 in order to be net zero by 2050. They have provided their net zero road map on their website that shows they are below the average carbon emissions in their industry:
The third-largest automaker in the world, Ford, has officially joined the race to net zero carbon emissions by 2050. They have started scientific research to control scope 1, 2, and 3 emissions. They also plan on making certain vehicles like the Mustang Mach-E and the F-150 electric with 11.5 billion dollars of investments in 2022 and bringing locally-sourced renewable energy completely to every plant by 2035.
Ford has announced, "To achieve its goal, Ford will focus on three areas that account for about 95 percent of its CO2 emissions – vehicle use, supply base and company’s facilities."
Hon Hai from Taiwan, the largest electronics manufacturer in the world, has set out to be net zero by 2050 in conjunction with the Climate Action 100+ Steering Committee goals as follows: "strengthen climate change governance, take action toward the group’s greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions across the value chain, provide disclosures in accordance with the Climate-Related Financial Disclosure Recommendations (TCFD)."
This is notable because they are taking action through the entire value chain and they are suppliers for Amazon, Apple, and PlayStation to name a few of their well-known clients across the world.
"PGE, as the largest company in the sector, will play a key role in achieving zero emissions by Poland," Dabrowski said at a Q2 results news conference. "Our strategic aspiration is to offer 100% green energy to PGE customers in 2050." - SP Global.
As of now, 88% of their energy is run off of coal but they are striving for renewable energy sources like wind power by 2030. Only 5% comes from renewable sources at this point and the rest from natural gas. They are hoping to receive investment money from the EU Transition Fund to help with the plans that they are drawing up to achieve their goal of net zero by 2050. They have also begun to run an off-shore wind project in 2020 that will generate 550-650 MW on-shore. Principles for Responsible Investment says PGE also plans the bold transition of reducing emissions by 85% by 2030.
Woolworths, which operates 995 stores in Australia has also committed to net zero by 2050. They are Australia's first retailer and second ASX20 company to have their emissions targets endorsed by STBi which are a 63% reduction of carbon emissions between 2015 and 2030, and to reduce it's supply chain waste emissions by 19% by 2030 as well.
Woolworth's strategy includes:
In November 2020 American Airlines released their Environment, Social and Governance (ESG) Report which states their action plan for reaching net zero carbon emissions by 2050.
"It is the company’s first report to align with the Sustainability Accounting Standards Board and the Task Force on Climate-related Financial Disclosures..."
American Airlines' 62-page report they highlight goals such as: source 2.5 million gigajoules of renewable energy by 2025, 15-20% improvement of fuel efficiency with each new generation of aircraft, improvement of air traffic control management to reduce emissions, and shifting to fuel from renewable feedstocks versus petroleum-based fuel used as of now.
If you would like to read more about becoming a carbon-neutral, sustainable business, please read these free resources:
• Article: What Is Sustainable Business & What Are Their Practices?
• Article: How Businesses Have Begun Taking Action Towards Achieving Net Zero Goals
• Article: What Is a Carbon Offset and Why Do Companies Need It to Achieve Net Zero Carbon Emissions?
Greenwashing is when a company markets themselves as sustainable but hasn't taken any actions to do it. Many companies even greenwash through good intentions without taking necessary steps to become sustainable. Since this happens through lack of transparency and tangible measures, it's difficult for consumers to know if a company is really sustainable until they have reported the facts. You can spot greenwashing if a company has made promises in the long term that they are unable to back up with factual evidence.
Becoming a net zero business is achievable although not many have done it yet. About a third of the world's largest companies have made a pledge to become net zero companies. Time recorded 622 of 2000 of the largest publicly-traded companies in the world have made pledges. There are more SMEs appearing this year that are achieving net zero by putting carbon neutrality at the core of their business.
It's important to know your company's carbon footprint accurately to be able to offset it. Having a system of record for your carbon emissions data and an action plan to improve it will push you towards your goals. The sooner your company becomes responsible for its emissions, the better it will be for company rapport, achieving ESG criteria goals, and getting ahead of government obligations.
Be a responsible leader in your industry. Book a call with an expert from Net0 and experience the all-in-one platform for your business' net zero strategy. Our easy-to-use yet comprehensive carbon management software measures, tracks, gives insights on reductions through analysis and simulations, reports under GHGP compliance, offers verified offsets, and certifies organizations as carbon neutral.
Cover photo by Mariana Proença on Unsplash