Businesses ramp up ambition and global emissions rise – net zero round up

5 May 2021

This month saw many countries and organisations align themselves with net zero and climate targets to mark Earth Day. We round up some of the top net zero news stories including a new business alliance, global action for net zero emission vehicles and the UK’s new carbon emissions target.

New business group alliance launches to accelerate Race to Zero

New business group alliance launches to accelerate “Race to Zero”

A new alliance has launched with the aim of increasing ambition to achieve a net zero UK by 2050. The UK Business Group Alliance for Net Zero (BGA) has drawn together more than 100 of the most ambitious and proactive business groups and organisations to work and think together, working collaboratively with the UK Government and other stakeholders.

The coordination of the alliance is led by Corporate Leaders Group (CLG), hosted by Cambridge Institute for Sustainability Leadership (CISL), and guided by a core group of members including the Aldersgate Group, Business in the Community, the CBI, CDP, the International Investors Group on Climate Change, the UK Business Council for Sustainable Development and the UK Green Building Council. 

Food and Drink Federation launches ambition to reach net zero by 2040

Food and Drink Federation launches ambition to reach net zero by 2040

The voice of the food and drink industry has announced its ambition to reach net zero by 2040.

The target includes all embodied carbon – i.e., the carbon footprint of product and materials. This will involve accounting for how many greenhouse gases are released throughout its supply chain and measuring emissions from cradle to (factory) gate, or cradle to site (of use).

To provide further support to food and drink businesses, the FDF is also planning to launch a Roadmap to Net Zero project, which will look at areas including ingredients, packaging, manufacturing, distribution and storage and the role of customers in reducing the carbon footprint of food.

Global carbon dioxide emissions are set for their second-biggest increase in history

Global carbon dioxide emissions are set for their second-biggest increase in history

Global energy-related carbon dioxide emissions are on course to surge by 1.5 billion tonnes in 2021 – the second-largest increase in history – reversing most of last year’s decline caused by the Covid-19 pandemic, the International Energy Agency has revealed. This would be the biggest annual rise in emissions since 2010, during the carbon-intensive recovery from the global financial crisis.

The Global Energy Review 2021 estimates that CO2 emissions will increase by almost 5% this year to 33 billion tonnes. The key driver is coal demand, which is set to grow by 4.5%, surpassing its 2019 level and approaching its all-time peak from 2014, with the electricity sector accounting for three-quarters of this increase.

UK enshrines new target in law to slash emissions by 78% by 2035

UK enshrines new target in law to slash emissions by 78% by 2035

The UK government has enshrined the world’s most ambitious climate change target in law to reduce emissions by 78% by 2035 compared to 1990 levels. In line with the recommendation from the independent Climate Change Committee, this sixth Carbon Budget limits the volume of greenhouse gases emitted over a 5-year period from 2033 to 2037, taking the UK more than three-quarters of the way to reaching net zero by 2050. The government says the Carbon Budget will ensure Britain remains on track to end its contribution to climate change, while remaining consistent with the Paris Agreement temperature goal to limit global warming to well below 2°C and pursue efforts towards 1.5°C.

Global platform launches to raise ambition on zero emission vehicles ahead of COP26

Global platform launches to raise ambition on zero emission vehicles ahead of COP26

A global platform calling for ambitious commitments to the adoption of zero emission vehicle has been launched. Led by international non-profit the Climate Group and the UN High Level Climate Champions, RouteZero engages businesses, cities, states, regions, investors and individuals in the shift toward emissions-free road transportation. The goal is to increase commitments from players in leading markets by profiling concrete initiatives and steps taken along the value chain, such as automotive manufacturers committing to only sell zero-emission vehicles, city leaders implementing zero-emission areas, individuals pledging to buy electric vehicles, and businesses and public sector bodies switching their entire fleets to zero emissions.