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Only a fraction of global companies meet UN climate targets

Only a fraction of global companies meet UN climate targets

By Anders Lorenzen

Analysis by the Net Zero Tracker has established, that even though half of the world’s 2,000 biggest listed companies have set targets to reach net-zero emissions by the middle of this century, only a fraction have met the targets set out in the United Nations (UN) guidelines.

Net Zero Tracker, an independent data consortium including Oxford University, said that corporate targets from Forbes2000 index companies had jumped 40% to 1,003 in October 2023, from 702 in June 2022. This figure covered two-thirds of revenue, some $27 trillion.

Only 4% on track

However, just 4% of the targets meet the criteria laid down by the UN’s Race to Zero campaign.

Just 37% of those to set a target had one that covered their Scope 3 emissions, or those tied to a company’s value chain. Just 13% had a quality threshold for the use of carbon offsets.

A battleground is shaping up ahead of the COP28 UN climate summit to be held in Dubai, United Arab Emirates (UAE), at the end of this month about how fast governments and corporations are willing to go.

The Project Lead for the Net Zero Tracker, John Lang said: “A clear line in the sand on net zero has surfaced. Countless net zero targets are credibility light, but now we can say for certain that most of the world’s largest listed companies are on the right side of the line on net zero intent.”

As well as companies, the Net Zero Tracker tracks pledges made by nations, states, regions and cities, using machine and human data analysis.

In addition to Oxford Net Zero, the Net Zero Tracker consortium includes The Energy & Climate Intelligence Unit (ECIU), Data-Driven EnviroLab (UNC) and the NewClimate Institute.

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