93% companies must double carbon emission reductions to meet net zero goals

net zero

While 34% of the world’s largest companies are now committed to net zero, 93% will fail to achieve their goals if they don’t at least double the pace of emissions reduction by 2030, according to a new report from Accenture.

The report, Accelerating Global Companies toward Net Zero by 2050, is based on an analysis of commitments to emissions reduction and data from the 2000 largest public and private companies around the world, Accenture says.

It finds that growing energy price inflation and supply insecurity is pushing commitments out of reach, even as more companies in every region are setting clear and publicly visible decarbonisation goals. Accenture says there has been a record rise in the number of corporate targets validated by the Science-Based Targets initiative (SBTi) this year.

Moreover, 84% of companies plan to increase investments in their sustainability initiatives before the end of 2022, the report finds.

This heightened ambition is encouraging, but it is also clear that a steep acceleration of emission reductions is required.

The report finds that acceleration toward net zero will require “carbon intelligence” capabilities that enable organisations to control, improve, and drive value-creation by embedding carbon and broader ESG intelligence into their core businesses and across their value chains.

Accenture says this includes integrating carbon, energy and other sustainability data and insights into financial and operational business information to help drive everyday decision-making.

Despite the commitments made, however, only 7% of companies are on track to achieve their net zero targets for scope 1 and 2 emissions at the observed rates of change, the report shows.

Accenture says that even in a scenario where companies accelerate emissions reduction to twice the current rates in the years to 2030 and then three times after – 59% would still fail by 2050; the deadline deemed necessary to avert the most catastrophic and irreversible impacts of climate change.

Reaching net zero will require urgent and profound transformations.

CEO of Accenture for Europe, Jean-Marc Ollagnier, said: “Amid global economic, political and environmental disruption, more companies than ever before have publicly committed to largely decarbonising by around 2050. This heightened ambition is encouraging, but it is also clear that a steep acceleration of emission reductions is required.

“Maximising value from mature technologies, such as digital and certain renewable energies, while accelerating the deployment of breakthrough solutions like hydrogen will be critical. Most importantly, reaching net zero will require urgent and profound transformations, as it is about embedding sustainability into everything organisations do, redefining their purpose, culture and business models.”

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