Momentum on reaching net zero continues to gather pace, as more and more companies commit to ambitious emissions reduction targets.
In case you missed them, here’s our roundup of the latest countries and corporates pledging net zero this month.
China pledges “carbon neutrality” by 2060
Speaking via videolink to the UN General Assembly in New York, China’s President Xi Jinping made a surprise announcement that the country would aim to reach peak emissions before 2030, followed by a long-term target to become carbon neutral by 2060.
The announcement is being seen as a huge milestone in the fight against climate change: China is the world’s biggest source of carbon dioxide, responsible for around 28% of global emissions.
Richard Black, director of the Energy and Climate Intelligence Unit (ECIU) told the BBC, “China isn’t just the world’s biggest emitter but the biggest energy financier and biggest market, so its decisions play a major role in shaping how the rest of the world progresses with its transition away from the fossil fuels that cause climate change.”
EU sets 55% emissions reduction target by 2030
European Commission President Ursula von der Leyen announced plans to target a 55% cut in greenhouse gas emissions by 2030 as part of a broader European Green Deal programme aimed at reaching “climate neutrality” by 2050.
The President further announced that 30% of the €750 billion #NextGenerationEU budget will be raised through green bonds. 37% of funding will be invested in European Green Deal objectives, including ‘lighthouse’ European projects – hydrogen, green building, and 1 million electric charging points.
Willmott Dixon: all new build projects to be “net zero carbon in use” by 2030
Construction firm Willmott Dixon has set a target for all new build and refurbishment projects delivered from 2030 to be net zero carbon in operation. It has also pledged that its own operations will be zero carbon in ten years’ time and is aiming for its supply chain partners to be net zero carbon in operation by 2040.
The new strategy is underpinned by the Science Based Targets initiative (SBTi), which has approved Willmott Dixon’s emissions reduction targets as being in line with an overall need to limit a global temperature rise to 1.5°C above preindustrial levels.
Arup commits to net zero by 2030
Global engineering firm Arup has committed to achieving net zero emissions across its entire operations by 2030, covering everything from the energy used in offices to goods and services purchased. To achieve this the firm has set a science-based target to reduce its scope 1, 2, and 3 global greenhouse gas emissions by 30% within the next five years from a 2018 baseline.
A carbon levy of $40USD per tonne is being applied to flights taken by employees in a bid to change behaviours across the firm. The proceeds will be used to establish an Arup Carbon Fund to find and invest in ways of reducing and removing carbon including supporting local community projects.
PwC pledges net zero by 2030
Professional services network PwC is making a worldwide science-based commitment to achieve net zero greenhouse gas emissions by 2030. The commitment includes supporting clients to reduce their emissions as well as reducing those from the PwC network’s operations and suppliers.
Emissions associated with flights alone currently represent around 85% of the network’s total carbon footprint. The COVID-19 pandemic has accelerated the shift to remote working and demonstrated the feasibility of new client service models to help the network reach its net zero goal.
ITV commits to net zero by 2030
ITV announced plans to achieve net zero across its scope 1&2 emissions, business travel and all produced and commissioned programmes, by 2030.
The commitment will be achieved through a reduction of 46% in emissions from ITV’s buildings and energy use, and a reduction of 28% in business travel and supplier emissions. The broadcaster said it would be submitting the targets to the SBTi later this year.
On business travel, the company says it will introduce an internal price of carbon at the point of purchase, which will be invested into certified carbon sequestration projects such as tree planting.
13 major airlines commit to net zero by 2050
Oneworld member airlines have committed to net zero carbon emissions by 2050, becoming the first global airline alliance to unite behind a common target to reach net zero.
The airlines will develop their individual approaches to reach the target, through various initiatives such as efficiency measures, investments in sustainable aviation fuels and more fuel-efficient aircraft, reduction of waste and single-use plastics, and carbon offsets.
Several oneworld member airlines are already actively prioritising a range of environmental sustainability initiatives. IAG (the parent of member carriers British Airways and Iberia) was the first airline group worldwide to commit to net zero carbon emissions by 2050. Japan Airlines and Qantas have also targeted net zero carbon emissions by 2050, while Finnair aims to achieve carbon neutrality by 2045.
Uber to be a “zero-emission platform by 2040”
Uber announced it would become a fully zero-emission platform by 2040, with 100% of rides taking place in zero-emission vehicles, on public transit, or with micromobility. The company said it is also setting an earlier goal to have 100% of rides take place in electric vehicles in US, Canadian, and European cities by 2030.
Uber has further committed to reaching net zero emissions from its corporate operations by 2030 and says that “All told, hitting these goals would put us a decade ahead of Paris Climate Agreement targets.”
LafargeHolcim “leads the way in green construction” with Science Based Targets pledge
The World’s largest cement manufacturer, LafargeHolcim has joined the Science Based Targets initiative (SBTi) “Business Ambition for 1.5°C,” becoming the first global building materials company to sign the pledge with intermediate targets for 2030, validated by SBTi.
In its 2030 goals, LafargeHolcim is further lowering its target for CO2 intensity in cement to 475kg net CO2 per ton of cementitious material (net CO2/t.cem.). Europe is on track to become the first region to reach this net zero ambition.
LafargeHolcim is partnering with SBTi to develop a roadmap for aligning climate targets to a 1.5°C future in the cement sector.