More than 2,000 high-emitting firms urged to set science-based emissions targets

The Carbon Disclosure Project began its annual Science-Based Targets Campaign on Wednesday.

Rebecca Speare-Cole
Wednesday 01 November 2023 16:38 GMT
(PA) (PA Archive)

More than 2,100 high-emitting companies are facing calls to set science-based emissions reduction targets as part of a major new campaign.

The Carbon Disclosure Project (CDP), a non-profit to which firms can voluntarily share data on their environmental performance, is calling on firms like FedEx, General Electric, Dow Chemical, Rio Tinto and to set independently-approved targets in line with the latest climate science.

Together these firms collectively generate more than 8.3 gigatons of CO2e emissions from their operations and energy use, the CDP said.

It comes as the organisation launched its annual Science-Based Targets (SBT) Campaign on Wednesday.

The initiative has been backed by 307 financial institutions and 60 multinational companies, representing 33 trillion dollars in assets and spending power, including Legal and General (LGIM), British Columbia Investment Management Corporation (BCI), Bayer, BMW AG and L’Oreal.

Claire Elsdon, CDD’s global director for requesting authorities, Capital Markets, said: “Record breaking temperatures and devastating floods around the world this year serve as a stark reminder of the urgent need for businesses to drastically reduce emissions.

“The success of this campaign in previous years and the increased number of financial institutions and corporate buyers joining our call for action this year, shows the pivotal role those organisations can play in pushing portfolio companies and suppliers to decarbonise, not least to meet their own Scope 3 targets.

“CDP remains clear in our vision to continue to foster a positive ambition loop between Financial Institutions, multinational buyers, and companies, ultimately driving more companies to set robust 1.5C-aligned science-based targets.”

The CDP said its annual campaign has helped drive more than 470 high-impact companies to join the Science-Based Targets initiative (SBTi).

The organisation said the number of financial institutions supporting the campaign has more than doubled since it first launched in 2020.

Meanwhile, the number of multinational companies has increased by 33% since last year’s campaign, which prompted 99 firms to join the SBTi.

However, the CDP said companies that have joined the SBTi represent only 34% of the global economy by market capitalisation.

Ms Elsdon said: “Tackling a global challenge of this magnitude requires a dramatic scale-up in action from across financial systems and the real economy.”

The CDP said that in order to boost the number of firms joining the SBTi, it has almost doubled the number of high-impact companies it is targeting this year.

Stephen Beer, senior manager for sustainability and responsible investment at LGIM, said: “Through its Climate Impact Pledge, LGIM assesses over 5,000 companies in climate critical sectors and approaches over 100 companies for direct engagement to help drive change in their sectors and reduce systemic risks.

“One of our key expectations is for companies to have net zero targets which are certified independently, ideally by the SBTi. This is why we support efforts to encourage companies to adopt science-based targets.”

Jennifer Coulson, senior managing director and global head of ESG at BCI, said: “Climate change is a complex, global issue that demands collective action. CDP has a proven track record of bringing together like-minded investors to drive real-world outcomes.

“Its Science-Based Targets Campaign aligns with BCI’s expectation for high-emitting portfolio companies to adopt credible emissions reduction targets that support the transition to a low-carbon economy, as well as informs our ability to make investment decisions that create long-term value for our clients.”

Thomas Udesen, chief procurement officer of Bayer, said: “Climate protection is integral to Bayer’s strategy.

“We have set science-based targets (SBTs) and will absolutely reduce our greenhouse gas emissions, from own operations.

“Reducing emissions in the supply chain is thereby essential, and requires us, and our suppliers, to collaborate and to embrace climate protection as an opportunity and a non-negotiable. Setting science-based targets demonstrates that.”

PA has contacted FedEx, General Elastic, Dow Chemical, Rio Tinto and for comment.

Thank you for registering

Please refresh the page or navigate to another page on the site to be automatically logged inPlease refresh your browser to be logged in