As world leaders gather in Madrid to discuss the climate crisis, a new report reveals that leading players in the private sector - including the apparel industry - are on course to meet the targets of the Paris Agreement.
The report, by the Science-Based Targets (SBT) initiative, says that 285 leading companies, with total greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions greater than that of France and Spain combined, are already reducing emissions by an average of 35 per cent.
Between them, these companies are on target to eliminate 265 million metric tons of emissions from their operations, equivalent to closing 68 coal-fired power plants, by limiting the increase in global average temperatures to 2°C above pre-industrial levels.
Entitled Raising the Bar: Exploring the Science Based Target initiative’s progress in driving ambitious climate action, the report is the first-ever assessment of the initiative’s impact since its launch in 2015.
SBT says that 76 of the companies' goals are in line with the Paris Agreement's more demanding target of limiting warming to 1.5°C above pre-industrial levels.
“These companies are at the vanguard in the fight against climate change. They are proof that acting on climate science goes hand-in-hand with a successful business and economy,” said Alexander Farsan, global lead for science-based targets at WWF, one of the SBT partners.
“Every company in every sector must step up and reduce their emissions in line with what science says is needed, or risk being left behind in a changing world.”
The report also reveals that one-in-five high impact companies in the apparel industry have set science-based targets, along with the same proportion of companies in the biotechnology, food and beverage, healthcare, hospitality, information technology, pharmaceuticals and telecommunications sectors.
One of the companies named by SBT in the report is Nike whose senior director of engagement for global sustainability Virginia Rustique-Petteni commented: “Consumers today expect brands to stand for something. Consumers want us to show we are a sustainable business.
"It’s about what we do, say and how we behave but also what we make and how we make it. We need to be part of the conversation, and use our global reach and brand equity to galvanise our partners, other industries, and other sectors."
The report also reveals that more than 90 per cent of the 285 companies have also set ambitious emissions reduction targets for their value chains, which generate 3.9 billion metric tons of CO2 equivalent emissions per year — roughly the same as 90 per cent of the entire European Union’s annual emissions.
At least 20 per cent of high-impact companies headquartered in several large developed markets, including Finland, France, Denmark and Japan, are setting science-based targets.
With the notable exception of India, which counts nine companies with approved science-based targets, only a few companies in emerging markets have set science-based targets. Companies headquartered in non-OECD countries make up only six per cent of companies with approved targets.
SBT is a collaboration between CDP, the United Nations Global Compact, World Resources Institute (WRI) and World Wide Fund for Nature (WWF). It uses the latest available climate science to define best practice, offers resources and guidance, and assesses companies’ targets against its validation criteria.
The publication of its new report coincides with COP25 in Madrid, the annual global climate meeting organised by the United Nations Framework Convention (UNFCCC).
Courtesy: Eco Textile News
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