“Net zero” is about finding the right balance between how much greenhouse gas we produce and how much we take out of the atmosphere. It’s the world’s way of responding to the climate crisis caused by human emissions, pushing us towards irreversible damage. The urgency is evident, especially with the SEC’s proposed new rules on companies discussing climate regulations and California’s effort to cut carbon emissions. So, let’s dive into what net zero means for your business.
Global Progress Toward Net Zero
In 2021, U.S. greenhouse gas emissions rose by 5.2%, driven by the post-COVID-19 economic recovery. While 65% of major global companies aim for net-zero targets, challenges remain. Some entities, like states, cities, and large companies, still need to establish emission reduction targets. Ensuring the credibility of net-zero plans is crucial, and a recent report offers recommendations to develop a universal benchmark for transparent and responsible net-zero commitments.
Countries Leading the Way
Around the world, countries have been making promises to cut greenhouse gas emissions by 2030 ever since the Paris Agreement in 2015. However, not all investments in clean energy are equal. China spent many resources on renewable energy but still relies heavily on polluting fossil fuels, so it’s only 68th on the 2021 Energy Transition Index.
On the other hand, smaller European countries are paving the way in the clean energy department. Below are the top 3 countries contributing to about 3 percent of energy-related CO2 emissions:
Sweden: They want to cut greenhouse gas emissions by 59 percent by 2030 and aim for a net-zero carbon economy by 2045. They’re all about nuclear, hydro, biofuels, wind, and solar power, and they’re slapping a $133 per ton carbon tax in 2023.
Norway: Their goal is a 50 percent emissions cut by 2030 compared to 1990. They’re big on hydro, biofuels, solar, and wind, even though they’re known for exporting oil. They have a carbon tax of about $83 per ton.
Denmark: They aim for a 70 percent drop in greenhouse gas emissions by 2030 compared to 1990. They’re getting cozy with biofuels, wind, and solar power.
These countries show that we can make significant progress towards cutting emissions globally with some determination.
5 Companies Working Towards Achieving Net Zero
Apart from specific nations taking the lead in reducing carbon emissions, various companies are making noteworthy efforts. Retail giants such as Best Buy and consumer goods conglomerates like Unilever are making commendable commitments to reduce their carbon footprints, playing a crucial role in building a sustainable future. Take a look at the following five companies below that are leading the change with net zero:
Best Buy is committed to environmental protection and carbon neutrality by 2040. They’ve reduced carbon emissions by 66% since 2009 and collected 2.7 billion pounds of electronics for recycling. Offering eco-friendly products, they aim to help customers cut emissions by 20% and save $5 billion in energy costs by 2030.
Unilever is on the path to net-zero emissions across its value chain by 2039. They’ve reduced greenhouse gas impact by 19% since 2010 and target zero emissions in their operations by 2030. Their Climate Transition Action Plan outlines steps to achieve a 100% reduction in operational emissions and advocates for change beyond their value chain.
L’Oréal is taking a dual approach to reduce its carbon footprint. They’ve cut emissions from industrial sites by 91% since 2005, while production volume increased by 45%. They’ve achieved carbon neutrality in 110 sites by focusing on renewable energy. L’Oréal also balances residual emissions through sustainable sourcing activities.
ExxonMobil is advancing climate solutions by electrifying operations, reducing methane emissions, and developing low-carbon fuels and technologies. They aim to achieve their emission-reduction plans by 2030 and net-zero ambitions by 2050 through upgrades, best practices, and lower-carbon power.
Nike is determined to cut global GHG emissions in half this decade and reach net zero by 2050. They’re reducing their carbon footprint with Science-Based Targets, focusing on materials, decarbonizing their value chain, adopting alternative fuels, reducing air freight, and making their spaces energy-efficient. Nike collaborates with others to advance climate goals through industry initiatives and policy advocacy.
Private Sector’s Vital Role
In California, two new laws will significantly impact big companies, whether public or private. Many businesses may be required to follow these laws, according to the California State Senate’s analysis.
First, we have the Climate Corporate Data Accountability Act (SB-253). This law is all about making companies accountable for their environmental impact. It says companies must report how much greenhouse gas they’re emitting in three categories: Scope 1, Scope 2, and Scope 3. They’ll start reporting on Scope 3 emissions between 2027 and 2030. Initially, they’ll get some help verifying Scope 1 and 2 emissions, and potentially Scope 3.
Now, onto the second law, SB-261. This one’s all about companies being open about their financial risks related to climate change. They’ll need to share reports every two years about these risks and what they’re doing to tackle them. To do this, they can use different reporting frameworks, like the Sustainability Disclosure Standards.
Meet Net Zero Requirements with DC Solar Electric
Are you feeling pressured to reduce your company’s carbon emissions? That’s what we’re here for. Our team has the expertise and solutions to help you navigate these requirements effectively. By partnering with us, you can confidently address the challenges of carbon reduction, ensuring compliance, cost-efficiency, and a positive environmental impact. Contact us today!