Sporting goods giant Nike Inc is among the nine founding members of a new cross-sector initiative designed to accelerate the transition to a net zero global economy by developing and delivering research, guidance, and implementable roadmaps.
Transform to Net Zero will focus on enabling the business transformation needed to achieve net zero emissions no later than 2050, in addition to driving broader change with a focus on policy, innovation, and finance.
It aims to make it easier for the private sector to not only set ambitious goals but to also deliver meaningful emissions reductions and economic success.
It will be led by founding members which, in addition to Nike, include AP Moller Maersk, Danone, Mercedes-Benz AG, Microsoft Corp, Natura &Co, Starbucks, Unilever, and Wipro, as well as Environmental Defense Fund (EDF). The initiative is also supported by the global non-profit Business for Social Responsibility (BSR), which is serving as the secretariat.
“Over the past decade, many businesses have committed to net zero targets. It is now time to accelerate the actions needed to achieve this essential goal,” says BSR president and CEO Aron Cramer. “Our window for staying under 1.5 degrees of warming is closing, and fast. We are now in a decisive decade, in which we must urgently decarbonise the economy, if we are to stave off the worst impacts of climate change. That’s why Transform to Net Zero is so important. More than just setting a high bar for inspiration, Transform to Net Zero will provide companies with an actionable roadmap enabling them to transform their businesses to thrive in and shape a net zero economy.”
The aim of the initiative is to lead by example, charting the course for other businesses to follow. Founding members say while the outputs of Transform to Net Zero will be widely available to all, additional companies may join. The group intends to complete the outputs of this work by 2025.
Its efforts will be led by the following principles:
1. Focused on transformation: Delivering on individual commitments and translating into action, which will include corporate strategy, governance and accountability, finance and operations, risk management, procurement, innovation and R&D, marketing, and public affairs.
2. Led by science and best practice data and methods: Committed to standardised approaches to achieve what the best available science requires for a 1.5°C world; committed to improving the quality and availability of research, data, and tools for all; committed to the highest return for the climate on investment.
3. Leveraging existing efforts: Committed to open collaboration with existing net zero initiatives (sign-on, advocacy, sectorial, methodology efforts) to leverage existing work and advance business transformation to net zero.
4. Strong governance and oversight: At the highest levels of the company, governance and oversight structures will work to achieve net zero, including through developing innovative products, services, and business models.
5. Robust reduction and removal across the extended enterprise: Net zero requires emissions reductions across the entire value chain, including impact of products and services and supply chain. Net zero requires us to achieve greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions reductions aligned with the latest science and increase our capacity for GHG removals in the near term to be the path to get companies—and the world—to net zero no later than 2050 to ensure a stable climate, and will mean a mix of climate-positive actions should be pursued.
6. Investment in innovation: Substantial commitment and willingness to invest in and accelerate innovation to achieve net zero transformation, including partnering with others.
7. Policy engagement: Advancing public policy that enables and accelerates progress towards net zero, and engagement with bodies such as trade associations to achieve this objective.
8. Transparency and accountability: Public reporting and disclosure on progress towards net zero transformation to key stakeholders, including investors, customers, consumers, and where required?regulators; sharing information with all stakeholders on good practice to net zero transformation.
9. Just and sustainable transition: We know that marginalised groups and low-income communities bear the greatest impacts of climate change. Therefore, we will help enable conditions needed to achieve effective, just, and sustainable climate solutions for people of all gender, race, or skills.
“When it comes to protecting the playing field we share—our planet—there isn’t a moment to lose. That’s why we aren’t waiting for solutions to climate change, we’re coming together as global leaders to create them,” says Nike COO, Andy Campion. “If we act now, and work together, we can drive meaningful progress toward a more sustainable future.”
Fred Krupp, president of Environmental Defense Fund, adds: “The gap between where we are on climate change and where we need to be continues to widen. So does the gap between businesses that just talk about action and those that are actually getting the job done. This new initiative holds tremendous potential for closing these gaps. Especially if other businesses follow in the coalition’s footsteps, leading by example and using the most powerful tool that companies have for fighting climate change: their political influence.”
Earlier this month, 20 UK retailers joined a new commitment to tackle the causes of climate change – including their supply chains – to try to accelerate progress to a Net Zero UK ahead of the government’s 2050 target.