To help mitigate climate change and limit a rise in global temperatures, many sectors have committed to slashing carbon emissions within the next decade. According to an earlier report by United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCC), 15 sectors of the global economy have shifted the dial on climate change with 20 percent of the major companies by revenue in each sector aligning to sector-specific 2030 goals.
With the aim of mitigating climate change and limit a spike in global temperatures, a number of sectors have committed to reducing carbon emissions within the next decade.
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According to an earlier report by the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCC), 15 sectors of the global economy have shifted the dial on climate change with 20 percent of the major companies by revenue in each sector aligning with sector-specific 2030 goals.
In early 2021, the UN High Level Climate Champions invited various sectors to participate in the ‘2030 Breakthroughs’, asking them to commit to delivering breakthroughs in addressing climate change. Since then, stakeholders across sectors have geared up for systemic transformation.
Sectors committed to change
Around 21 percent of the major global utilities by industry revenue such as French multinational utility company Engie and Italian multinational electricity distributor Enel SpA have joined the race to zero carbon emissions by 2050.
The UNFCC report said 39 percent of major manufacturers of heavy goods vehicles, including Ford, Volvo, BMW and Nissan, have committed to achieving zero emission sales by 2040. Similarly, 24 percent of major bus makers by total revenue, including General Motors, committed to achieving 100 percent zero emission bus sales by 2030.
Further, 28 percent of major food suppliers across the globe have committed to establishing deforestation-free supply chains as part of their efforts to halt land conversion. The companies have also committed to adopting regenerative agriculture and land restoration practices by 2030.
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In the fashion industry, 49 percent of major fashion companies, including Burberry and H&M, have joined the race to zero emissions.
Among the major tech giants Apple, Microsoft and Google are leading the group of major ICT companies who have committed to taking climate action.
“Climate change threatens to disrupt virtually every part of the global economy, and it’s critical that business leaders in every industry take action and join the fight,” American businessman and philanthropist Michael R Bloomberg, who is also the global ambassador for the UN’s Race to Zero and Race to Resilience campaigns, said.
In 2015, 13 of America's major companies, including Microsoft, Apple, Google, Bank of America and Walmart, pledged $140 billion towards efforts to reduce carbon emissions as part of the American Business Act on Climate Pledge.
Among tech companies, Amazon aims to reach net zero by 2040. By 2025, the tech giant plans to power its operations with 100 percent renewable energy. Facebook has set a 2030 target of achieving net zero emissions for its entire supply chain.
Satya Nadella-led Microsoft in 2020 said it would become carbon negative by 2030, while iPhone maker Apple aims to become carbon neutral across its supply chain by 2030.
Google has also committed to power its operations with 100 per cent carbon-free energy by 2030.
“The science is clear, we have until 2030 to chart a sustainable course for our planet or face the worst consequences of climate change,” The Guardian quoted Google CEO Sundar Pichai as saying last year.
To achieve their pledges, Apple and its partners are building new renewable energy projects around the world, while Google set up a $1-billion climate innovation fund to develop carbon-tackling technologies.
A recent report by non-profit New Climate Institute said tech giants’ climate plans are not as aggressive as they sound and gave Amazon’s and Google’s climate pledges a “low integrity” rating, The Verge reported.
The non-profit assessed 25 of the world’s biggest companies, including tech giants, and said many firms are focussing on offsetting emissions through unreliable methods instead of setting specific targets to prevent pollution.
Companies like Nestle, Unilever and CVS Health failed to implement transparent plans to achieve net-zero emissions, the report said.
Not all bad
Three companies of the 25 surveyed by New Climate Institute -- Maersk, Vodafone and Deutsche Telekom – were committed to “deep decarbonisation of over 90 percent of their full value chain emissions”, the report said.
All three companies are based in Europe. Both Deutsche Telekom in Germany and Vodafone in UK are telecom giants, while Maersk is a Danish logistics company.
The rise in the adoption of electric vehicles is helping the automotive sector combat climate change in a big way. As compared to conventional (internal combustion engine) vehicles, EVs have considerably lower emissions over their lifetime.
Banks in India poorly prepared
Despite the growing clamour for climate action, banks in India are poorly prepared to combat risks arising out of global warming, Bloomberg reported quoting a study by local research and advisory group Climate Risk Horizons.
The study surveyed 34 Indian banks, none of which had a long-term net zero-emissions target year. As of now, the country’s largest lender State Bank of India has only a long-term carbon neutral target year, while YES Bank Ltd and HDFC Bank have set targets for scope 1 and 2 emissions, which cover direct greenhouse gas emissions and indirect emissions through electricity or energy purchased.
(Edited by : Thomas Abraham)