Sustainable business leaders have been invited to the next UN Climate Action Summit in New York in September. © Spencer Platt/Getty Images
Sustainable business leaders have been invited to the next UN Climate Action Summit in New York in September. © Spencer Platt/Getty Images

28 firms commit to emission limits to meet 1.5C target

26 July 2019

A group of 28 global companies has committed to more ambitious climate targets to reach zero emissions by 2050.

Firms including SAP, Vodafone Group, Hewlett Packard Enterprise, and Levi Strauss & Co are among those that signed the campaign to set targets through the Science-based Targets Initiative (SBTi), an independent organisation that uses the latest climate science to set greenhouse gas emission targets. 

In April 2019, the SBTi released updated guidance and resources to help businesses set targets that meet the 1.5C warming limit set in the Paris Agreement. 

This followed a call-to-action campaign by the United Nations, released in June, that called on industry leaders to step up environmental commitments ahead of the UN Climate Action Summit in September.

Paul Simpson, a board member at SBTi and CEO at CDP, said: “The science is clear: to limit the catastrophic impacts of climate change, we must ensure warming does not exceed 1.5C. The ambition is high, but it’s achievable — and science-based targets give companies a roadmap for getting there.

“We urge all companies to seize this chance to align their business with a 1.5C future and drive forward the transition to a net-zero carbon economy.”

The group also includes 28 companies come from 17 sectors and over 16 countries, including Acciona, AstraZeneca, Banka BioLoo, BT, Dalmia Cement Ltd., Eco-Steel Africa Ltd., Enel, Hewlett Packard Enterprise, Iberdrola, KLP, Levi Strauss & Co, Mahindra Group, Natura &Co, Novozymes, Royal DSM, SAP, Signify, Singtel, Telefonica, Telia, Unilever, Vodafone Group PLC and Zurich Insurance.

Out of the 28 companies, AstraZeneca, BT, Hewlett Packard, Unilever, Signify, SAP and Levi Strauss & Co already had emission reduction targets aligned with the 1.5C limit.

Ambassador Luis Alfonso de Alba, the UN secretary-general’s special envoy for the 2019 Climate Action Summit, said the UN secretary-general has asked business leaders to attend the summit with “clear plans for major cuts to emissions”.

Separately, global food company Cargill has launched The Beef-up Sustainability initiative to reduce greenhouse gas emissions by 30% across its North American beef supply chain by 2030. 

The firm will start by expanding its existing partnership with environmental NGO The Nature Conservancy. It will work with producers and ranchers to improve management of grazing, feed production and food waste and production.

Jon Nash, head of the North American protein business at Cargill, said: “This initiative builds on the strong environmental stewardship work already led by farmers and ranchers. Cargill is creating connections across the entire North American beef supply chain. Together, we can expand current sustainable agricultural practices to make a meaningful difference.”

Meanwhile, Iceland has launched a trial to remove plastic bags from its Hackney store in London, and in 25 stores across North Wales, Wirral, and Cheshire. The bags will be replaced by “extra-strong” paper bags for 15p, and other plastic-free options. The trial will run for six months and is expected to save plastic waste from over 210,000 bags, said Iceland.

Tesco has also announced measures to cut back on single-plastic waste by removing plastic carrier bags from online deliveries. The retailer has estimated that this could eliminate 2 tonnes of plastic used in production and 250m bags a year from household waste.

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