Net Zero Heroes – Understanding Corporate Challenges, Realities and Goals
February 01, 2021 at 14:00 PM EST
By Andy Poreda, ESG Research Analyst On Wednesday, January 20, less than three months after officially leaving, the U.S. rejoined the Paris Agreement. Though it is not a perfect solution to fight climate change, the 2015 Paris Agreement is a monumental accomplishment. The coalition of nearly 200 countries is aligned on a shared vision of aggressively curbing greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions to prevent irreversible damage on ecosystems worldwide and a shortage of food and water. The U.S.’ decision in 2017 to leave the Paris Agreement was divisive because it had numerous large supporters, including U.S. states, local municipalities, and Fortune 500 corporations — many of which aggressively stepped up to fill the void. Corporations have sent particularly strong messages and formed alliances to display common climate change alignment. The We Mean Business Coalition, for example, has 1,500 companies with a combined market weight of $25 trillion that have pledged to be carbon neutral, or “Net Zero,” by 2050. Why by 2050? The Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) has asserted that the world needs to be carbon neutral by 2050 to limit global warming to 1.5°C relative pre-Industrial Revolution levels (circa 1750). Any further warming would have dire effects on societies worldwide. Many emissions claims made by sustainable-minded corporations focus on trying to do whatever possible to achieve this goal.