26 January 2018: Businesses around the world have been called on to set science-based, greenhouse gas (GHG) reduction targets as a way to ensure corporate action on climate change. Mahindra Group Chairman Anand Mahindra made the call in advance of the Global Climate Action Summit (GCAS), which will convene from 12-14 September 2018 in San Francisco, California, US.
Mahindra, who will co-chair the GCAS, said approximately 500 companies are expected to “step up and commit to set science-based targets” by the September summit. He commended the more than 330 companies that have already committed to align their strategies with the goals of the Paris Agreement on climate change through the Science Based Targets initiative, a partnership between CDP, the UN Global Compact, the World Resources Institute (WRI) and the World Wildlife Fund (WWF) that helps companies determine how much they must cut emissions to prevent the worst impacts of climate change. Almost 900 more companies have announced their intent to set science-based targets within the next two years in their CDP disclosures, indicating a “new normal” in the way businesses are developing future strategies, according to the We Mean Business Coalition.
Mahindra said that businesses can “future-proof growth” and boost their competitive advantage in the transition to a low-carbon economy by setting science-based targets, which also shows governments that businesses are serious about aligning their strategies with the Paris Agreement.
This call, made during the 48th World Economic Forum (WEF) in Davos, Switzerland, which convened from 23-26 January 2018, is the first of multiple ‘Summit Challenges,’ which are expected in advance of the GCAS. Such challenges aim to help deliver GHG reductions to help ensure global emissions start “trending downward” no later than 2020, as well as to help the Summit contribute to an energy transition that generates quality employment and inclusive economic growth. The GCAS aims to showcase such climate action and new commitment in advance of the 24th session of the Conference of the Parties to the UNFCCC (COP 24) in November 2018.
In his statement, Mahindra also sought to dispel the idea a trade-off between reducing emissions and increasing profits, among other “persistent myths” about business action on climate change. He explained that initiatives to reduce emissions have generated a return, and in the last five years, his company has saved 58 million KWh of energy, which could power 15,000 homes in India. He added that climate change represents a US$6 trillion financial opportunity over the next two decades.
Also at the WEF, French President Emmanuel Macron committed to shutting down France’s coal-fired power stations by 2021. India’s Prime Minister Narendra Modi highlighted climate change as one of the three most significant challenges to civilization, along with terrorism and the backlash against globalization. The Climate Group released the ‘RE100 Progress and Insights Report: Approaching a Tipping Point: How corporate users are redefining global electricity markets,’ which notes that 25 members of RE100 reached 100% renewable electricity by the end of 2016. Over 30 companies across 16 sectors and with a combined revenue of US$1.3 trillion will accelerate implementation of circular economy solutions through Factor 10, an initiative of the World Business Council for Sustainable Development (WBCSD). [UNFCCC Press Release] [Science Based Targets Press Release] [Science Based Targets Website] [WEF Press Release on France Announcement] [WEF Press Release on India Statement] [RE100 Progress and Insights Report] [WBCSD Press Release on Factor 10] [SDG Knowledge Hub story on WEF 48]
References: International Institute for Sustainable Development. 2018. Retrieved from http://sdg.iisd.org/news/companies-commit-to-science-based-climate-targets/?utm_medium=email&utm_campaign=2018-02-06%20-%20SDG%20Update%20AE&utm_content=2018-02-06%20-%20SDG%20Update%20AE+CID_6d45e1b29a77180993f8274027c7d01c&utm_source=cm&utm_term=Companies%20Commit%20to%20Science-Based%20Climate%20Targets