Does your company have a net zero target?

  • Radia Guira

The Net-Zero Standard was developed with the intention of guiding corporates towards a state of net-zero in a way that is consistent with societal climate and sustainability goals and within the biophysical limits of the planet.
To reach a state of net-zero at the corporate level, companies must deeply reduce emissions and counterbalance the impact of any emissions that remain. The SBTi Net-Zero Standard defines
corporate net-zero as:
– Reducing scope 1, 2, and 3 emissions to zero or a residual level consistent with reaching global net-zero emissions or at a sector level in eligible 1.5°C-aligned pathways; and
– Permanently neutralizing any residual emissions at the net-zero target year and any GHG emissions released into the atmosphere thereafter.
To contribute to societal net-zero goals, companies are strongly encouraged to go further than their science-based abatement targets to mitigate emissions beyond their value chains.
The Net-Zero Standard sets out four key elements that make up a corporate net-zero target:
– Near-term science-based target
– Long-term science-based target
– Neutralization of any residual emissions
– Beyond value chain mitigation (BVCM)
The possible answers are:
– Yes
– No
If you answered ‘Yes’, please provide details in the comments section and/or attach any formalized document.

This question is asking if the company has set a « net zero target ». A net zero target means the company is striving to balance the amount of emitted greenhouse gases with the amount removed from the atmosphere. This makes the company’s carbon footprint effectively zero, illustrating a commitment towards sustainability and climate change mitigation.

A second layer to this question investigates the deadline for this target. This helps understand the company’s urgency in achieving this goal and also reflects their comprehensive steps towards environmental contribution.

An example of the response would be: ‘Yes, our company has set a net zero target for the year 2040.’ Here, ‘Yes’ or ‘No’ indicates whether the company has set such a target, and the year ‘2040’ indicates the deadline by which the company aims to achieve it.

(example: Yes, our company has set a net zero target for the year 2040.)

Understanding the Net Zero Concept

Before diving into whether your company has a net zero target, it’s essential to understand what ‘net zero’ means. In the context of climate change and sustainability, net zero refers to the balance between the amount of greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions produced and the amount removed from the atmosphere. Reaching net zero means that a company, or even a nation, is not adding to the total amount of GHGs in the atmosphere. Achieving this balance is crucial in the fight against climate change and is a key component in limiting global warming to well below 2 degrees Celsius, as per the Paris Agreement.

Net zero targets are grounded in science and require a deep understanding of your company’s carbon footprint. Establishing such a target involves setting a deadline to reduce as many emissions as possible and neutralizing the remaining emissions through carbon offsetting or removal practices. Many resources are available to help companies navigate this journey. For instance, the Science Based Targets initiative offers guidance on setting ambitious and achievable goals.

Setting a Net Zero Target: The Strategic Importance

Setting a net zero target is not only about environmental stewardship—it is also a strategic business decision. Investors, customers, and regulatory bodies are increasingly focusing on ESG criteria, with a particular emphasis on the ‘E’ for environmental. Companies that proactively set and work towards net zero targets are seen as forward-thinking and responsible, which can enhance brand reputation, customer loyalty, and potentially lead to better financial performance.

Moreover, having a net zero target can mitigate regulatory risks as governments around the world introduce more stringent climate policies. Companies without clear targets and sustainability strategies may face regulatory challenges, increased costs, or even be excluded from certain markets or opportunities.

How, then, can a company set a net zero target? The process involves measuring your company’s current emissions, setting a scientifically-informed target, reducing emissions through innovation and efficiency, and balancing any remaining emissions with carbon offset projects. For a more in-depth guide, refer to Greenly’s comprehensive guide on how to become a net zero company.

Measuring Progress and Maintaining Transparency

Once a net zero target is set, measuring progress is vital. This involves regular monitoring and reporting of emissions, as well as the steps taken to reduce them. Transparency in this process is paramount. Stakeholders, including investors, customers, and the public, are increasingly savvy about environmental claims and will expect to see real progress, not just promises.

Companies should also be prepared to adjust their strategies in response to new technologies, market changes, or policy developments. A net zero commitment is not a one-time declaration but a continuous process that requires adaptability and commitment to ongoing improvement.

For more detailed guidance on measuring progress and the importance of transparency, consider exploring The Carbon Trust’s briefing on net zero for corporates.

In conclusion, a net zero target is an integral part of modern corporate responsibility, reflecting a company’s commitment to a sustainable future. It requires a thorough understanding of your carbon footprint, a strategic approach to reduction, and a commitment to transparency and adaptation. Whether your company is just starting on this journey or looking to strengthen its current targets, the resources provided here can help guide you towards an impactful and science-based net zero strategy.