Business Giants join hands to protect the earth from a climate crisis

By Rahul Vaimal, Associate Editor
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The leaders of nine leading global businesses including Unilever, Nike and Microsoft have announced their decision to team up and form a consortium named “Transform to Net Zero.”

The initiative aims to develop and deliver research, guidance and implementable roadmaps that will enable all companies to achieve net-zero emissions.

Through the group, the firms intend to share capital and strategies to cut carbon emissions, by drawing together the efforts of some of the world’s biggest businesses dedicated to action against climate change.

The founding members of the consortium include A.P. Moller – Maersk (Danish shipping giant), Danone, Mercedes Benz, Nike, Natura (Brazilian cosmetics brand), Starbucks, Microsoft, Wipro (Indian IT firm) and Unilever. The Environmental Defense Fund (EDF) is also a part of the consortium while the BSR will serve as the Secretariat for the initiative.

In addition to driving wider change with a focus on politics, innovation and finance, Transform to Net Zero will concentrate on facilitating the business transformation required to achieve net-zero emissions no later than 2050. The initiative’s outputs will be freely accessible to all, although additional businesses may join. The Project aims to complete this work’s outputs by 2025.

The work will be led by the following principles:

  1. Focused on transformation: Delivering on our 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 standardized 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.

Microsoft had announced it plans to be carbon negative in January — removing more carbon dioxide out of the atmosphere than it emits — by 2030. For one of the most ambitious corporate initiatives, the software maker has committed $1 billion to a climate-innovation fund to invest in ways to minimize and eradicate carbon emissions.

Alan Jope, Unilever CEO, said: “The climate crisis is not only a threat to our environment, but also to lives and livelihoods, and it is critical that we all play a part in addressing it. The business world of the future cannot look like it does now; in addition to decarbonization, a full system transformation is needed. That’s why we’re pleased to join other leading businesses as a founding member of Transform to Net Zero so we can work together and accelerate the strategic shift that is needed to achieve net-zero emissions; in Unilever’s case, by 2039.”