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Beyond Net-Zero: A business pathway to spur urgent climate action towards 2030

In an effort to scale up climate action and support companies in their net-zero plans, WWF has developed guidance on what ambitious, credible corporate climate leadership looks like.

WWF’s Beyond Net-Zero guidance explains how businesses can become climate leaders and maximise their contribution to limiting global temperature increase to 1.5°C.
WWF’s Beyond Net-Zero guidance explains how businesses can become climate leaders and maximise their contribution to limiting global temperature increase to 1.5°C. © WWF

We are at a defining moment when it comes to addressing climate change. The risks of global warming and nature loss are quickly becoming overwhelming as our planet is facing multiple crises. 

The sad reality is that even if we stopped all emissions today, it would still take hundreds of years for our climate to regulate and start to cool. This is due to the amount of carbon and other greenhouse gasses already in our atmosphere. If we truly want to stop catastrophic climate change, then we need to reduce our emissions, draw down emissions already in the atmosphere and speed up the transition to a low-carbon future. Companies need to go beyond reductions and emissions to restore our climate.

WWF’s Beyond Net-Zero guidance highlights what actions companies can take to truly help tackle the climate crisis. In addition to an easy to understand action list, the guidance includes the metrics, practical advice, and best practices to help companies go beyond. 

The 7 actions

A corporate climate leader should strive to maximize its contribution to limiting global temperature increase to 1.5°C. This is done by halving emissions by 2030 and achieving net-zero by 2050 at the latest, as well as financing and supporting additional climate and nature solutions, engaging responsibly and actively in climate policy, collaborating with other companies and stakeholders, and enabling and inspiring customers. 

The seven actions that are expected from a corporate climate leader are:

  1. Account and disclose consistently and transparently according to best available practices and against all commitments.
  2. Set climate targets in line with 1.5°C according to the SBTi near-term and Net-Zero criteria.
  3. Reduce value chain emission (scope 1-3) in line with the 1.5°C trajectory.
  4. Finance and support climate and nature solutions across and beyond the value chain.
  5. Engage responsibly and actively in climate policy in line with 1.5°C and ensure internal and external corporate policy alignment.
  6. Collaborate with value chain partners, peers, employees, and other key stakeholders.
  7. Enable and inspire customers through sustainable products and services, education and campaigns, and transparent and accessible information.

Why do we need this?

Every day we hear new announcements and ambitions from companies in their efforts to become more sustainable. Not all of these are credible or are in line with the approaches and understanding we have to tackle climate change. With Beyond Net-Zero, WWF is creating a best practice approach to ensure action is in line with science and supports the needed societal shifts to achieve a 1.5°C future.

Some companies try to reduce their impact by offsetting their emissions without tackling the underlying problems. But this is not good practice. We cannot offset our way out of a climate emergency. Companies need to make those drastic emissions cuts and restore and protect nature – the best strategy is to limit your impacts and emissions by as much as you possibly can before looking into alternative solutions.

What is next?

To ensure best practice, these topics will need continued development so that companies can go from the ambition phase of their reduction strategies to concrete and credible action plans in line with the latest science. Our long-term vision of Beyond Net-Zero is to provide more practical guidance to companies and collect and share best-practice examples and solutions.

Our Partners

We worked with H&M and IKEA to help develop this guidance. They are part of a small but growing group of companies that have clearly understood the science, the benefits of cutting emissions and the risks of inaction.


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