Net zero pledges gain momentum globally but credibility remains in doubt


Net zero pledges gain momentum globally but credibility remains in doubt


More than a third of the world’s largest publicly traded corporations have set net zero goals, up from one-fifth in December 2020, according to Net Zero Tracker effort, a global research consortium.

At the national level, 80% of the world population currently lives in a country with a national net zero target, and national government net zero targets encompass 91% of global GDP, up from 68% in December 2020.

Furthermore, national government net zero targets now cover at least 83% of global greenhouse gas emissions, up from 61% in December 2020.

As countries continue to set and strengthen net zero pledges, analysts predict that the spotlight will fall on the few governments that have yet to set net zero targets, as well as the two-thirds of listed companies, 84% of regional governments, and 80% of cities worldwide that have yet to announce net zero targets.

Furthermore, the study demonstrates how organizations who do have net zero goals in place are facing increasingly difficult concerns regarding the credibility of their targets and their strategy to meet them.

According to the analysis, which draws on the Net Zero Tracker’s database of over 4,000 businesses, cities, and countries, 66% of corporate targets still do not exceed baseline procedural reporting standards.

Approximately half of the 702 corporate targets detailed in the research are embedded in firms’ corporate strategy documents or annual reports, while the majority of other companies have simply proclaimed a net zero target or an intention to set one. Sixty percent of the companies reviewed in the research only partially or do not even cover their Scope 3 emissions, while only 38% claim to cover all Scope 3 emissions.

According to the research, a large proportion of fossil fuel, materials, and transportation industries have net zero targets in place. However, researchers warned that there was a risk that reputation-conscious corporations with large carbon footprints would set symbolic net zero targets without the thorough plans required to accomplish them. “At worst, they’re outright greenwashing,” the Net Zero Tracker team remarked.

The report also found that despite the fact that the number of local net zero targets has more than doubled in the last year, from 115 to 235, only 40% of city net zero targets are incorporated in domestic legislation or policy documents. 40% of city targets also lack intermediate targets or published planning papers, which are viewed as critical for transparently evaluating progress.

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