The US-based multinational conglomerate, General Electric (GE) has pledged to control the greenhouse gases produced by the use of its products, including thousands of fossil-fuelled turbines and jet engines, with an aim to achieve net-zero emissions by 2050.
GE revealed its new target in its annual sustainability report and it shows the industrial giant plans to go beyond an earlier pledge to make its own operations carbon neutral by 2030. However, the announcement does not include concrete details about how it will achieve those emission cuts and the company has not yet quantified the reductions necessary to achieve that goal.
In the report, GE said its new “ambition” was a first step towards addressing the emissions from its products and supply chain, known as Scope 3. (Scopes 1 and 2 are related to production and operations.)
“We are particularly aware of the engineering challenges still to be solved to make the ambition of net-zero a reality. We plan to continue developing and to communicate details about more specific, nearer-term GE greenhouse gas reduction metrics and targets that include Scope 3 emissions.”
The new objective comes after GE investors supported a shareholder proposal pushing the company to say whether it planned to reach net-zero by 2050. “As You Sow”, the shareholder advocacy group behind the push, also urged the company to include emissions from the use of its products and its supply chain in its net-zero goal, stating it had been slow to address this category, undoubtedly the largest associated with the company.
GE is a top supplier of wind turbines and provides other technologies that have a role in the electricity sector’s shift away from fossil-fuel power generation, but its jet-engine and gas-power units face stiff challenges in the coming decades as pressure mounts from governments, investors and the public to eliminate pollution that contributes to climate change.