By - Jim Vess

Companies join global effort to set science-based emission targets for their operations

Energize Weekly, December 11, 2019

Nearly 700 companies around the world are moving to adopt “science-based targets” for reducing their greenhouse gas emissions with 40 percent already having plans in place, according to the non-profit and governmental groups sponsoring the initiative.

The Science Based Targets initiative (SBTi) – a collaboration among the charity CDP, the United Nations Global Compact, the World Resources Institute and the World Wide Fund for Nature – is aimed at mobilizing companies to set emission reductions “in line with climate science.”

The goal is to cut greenhouse gas emissions in line with the Paris Accord’s climate goal of limiting global warming to no more than 2 degrees Celsius over pre-industrial levels by 2100 and it limit the warming, if possible, to just 1.5 degree Celsius.

The plans of 285 companies have already been approved by the SBTi, with 76 companies committed to trying to achieve the tighter 1.5 degree Celsius goal.

The actions by the companies, the SBTi estimates, will generate $18 billion in climate change mitigation and 90 terawatt-hours of renewable electricity generation annually.

The commitments made by the 285 companies will reduce emissions by an estimated 265 million tons are carbon dioxide equivalent – more than the combined emissions of France and Spain.

“Science-based targets provide companies with a clearly defined pathway to future-proof growth by specifying how much and how quickly they need to reduce their greenhouse gas emissions,” SBTi said in a statement.

As of October, 686 companies had joined the program with the pace of companies joining doubling over the last 18 months, the group said. About 19 companies a month have been becoming members.

Companies from 46 countries have joined, including 131 headquartered in the U.S. with 56 already having targets approved.

There are 85 Japanese companies in the group, and 52 already have approved targets. A total of 318 European companies have joined the initiative, and 145 have approved targets.

The corporations that have already set SBTi goals include food and beverage companies: Coca-Cola, Nestle and Pepsi Co. Automakers Toyota, Volkswagen, General Motors, Ford and Daimler all have approved targets.

In the power sector, Duke Energy, NextEra Energy, Southern Company and American Electric Power have targets.

Merck, BASF, DuPont and Bayer are among the chemical companies that have joined the initiative with approved targets.

In the case of Coca-Cola, for example, the company has pledged to reduce all direct and fugitive emissions by 50 percent per liter of produced beverage by 2020 compared to 2010 emissions. It would also reduce emissions across its value chain by 25 percent per liter of produced beverage over the same period.

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