Twenty-seven companies – including AstraZeneca, Royal DSM and Unilever – have responded to a call to action from the UN to step up their sustainability efforts, committing to reducing emissions further and setting science-based targets aligned with limiting global temperature rise to 1.5°C above pre-industrial levels.
In its call to action in June, the UN Global Compact referenced the recent report by the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) which shows that “every half degree makes a world of difference,” and called on businesses to use their innovation, tools and expertise to “get the world back on track.” Companies with a total market capitalization of more than $1.2 trillion have responded, including AstraZeneca, Dalmia Cement Ltd., Eco-Steel Africa Ltd., Enel, Levi Strauss & Co., KLP, Royal DSM, SAP, Signify, Singtel, Telefonica, Unilever, Vodafone Group and Zurich Insurance, among others.
The companies have pledged to reach net-zero emissions by no later than 2050.
The UN Global Compact asked business leaders to come to the Climate Action Summit in September with clear plans for major cuts to emissions in order to get in line with the latest climate science.
The 27 companies are committed to setting science-based targets through the Science Based Targets initiative (SBTi), which independently assesses corporate emissions reduction targets against the latest climate science. To date, 600 of the world’s largest businesses are setting science-based greenhouse gas emissions reduction targets aligned with the Paris Agreement. In April 2019, the SBTi released new target validation resources to enable companies to set targets consistent with 1.5°C.
By taking the pledge, the 27 companies formalized their “increased ambition” and signaled their commitment to a zero emissions future to peers, investors, policy makers, customers, suppliers, civil society organizations, and other stakeholders.
“Recognizing the urgency of the climate challenge, I am pleased to confirm that my organization, is joining the global movement of leading companies aligning their businesses with the most ambitious aim of the Paris Agreement, to limit global temperature rise to 1.5°C above pre-industrial levels,” the pledge reads.