Big companies are setting science-based climate goals - Smart Energy Decisions

Commercial, Energy Efficiency, GHG Emissions, Power Prices, Commercial, Industrial, Sourcing Renewables  -  May 4, 2017 - By Amy Poszywak

Science-based climate goals on the rise, report finds

Adoption of science-based target setting related to greenhouse gas emissions is accelerating among the largest U.S. businesses as a growing number look to mitigate their climate impact, a recent report from investor and environmental groups found. 

As of the end of March this year, 10 of the Fortune 500 have adopted science-based targets verified by the Science Based Targets initiative, and 12 more have committed to doing so within the next two years, according to Power Forward 3.0 report released jointly by Ceres, Calvert Investments, CDP and the World Wildlife Fund. With 48% of Fortune 500 companies already having established some type of clean energy goal, this move goes a step further in aligning the goal or goals to climate science. 

Wal-Mart Stores Inc., Hewlett Packard Co., Procter & Gamble, PepsiCo Inc., Pfizer Inc., General Mills, NRG Energy, Kellogg Co., Coca-Cola European Partners and Host Hotels & Resorts each have targets verified by the initiative, which was founded in 2015 by CDP, World Resources Institute, WWF and the U.N. Global Compact. 

A science-based target, according to the report's authors, "utilizes the best available climate science to define a company's appropriate share of the emission reductions required to limit global temperature increases to below two degrees Celsius," which is the limit identified by the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change as necessary to avoid "dangerous atmospheric concentrations of greenhouse gases." 

Altogether, 20 companies within the Fortune 500 have either received CDP leadership points and/or were recognized by the Science Based Targets initiative as having set science-based targets, according to the report. Additionally, 72 Fortune 500 companies (14% of the index) have reported to CDP and/or the Science Based Targets initiative that they intend to set a science-based target within two years.

"While the movement toward science-based target-setting is relatively new, the significant portion of the Fortune 500 that has either set or intends to set such targets demonstrates a marked increase in target ambition," the report reads. "By committing to achieve GHG emission reductions that align with climate science, companies are demonstrating the role of the private sector in achieving the climate mitigation outcomes outlined in the Paris Agreement and within the nationally determined contributions put forward by countries around the world." 

P&G's targets, for example, are tied to the company's goal of reducing its greenhouse gas emissions 30% by 2020. In a recent interview with Smart Energy Decisions, P&G Global Climate and Energy Leader Steve Skarda urged other companies to consider the impact of rising temperature on their businesses. 

"It's going to require all of us; all of us in the corporate world, our government partners, our utility partners, we all need to be working toward the same common goals," he said. "I encourage other companies to think about their energy goals, and greenhouse gas emission goals specifically, in terms of the science and what they can do to really be delivering those common goals we all have together. We can't do it alone." 

Keywords: Calvert, CDP, Ceres, P&G, wwf

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