2020 Wrapped: 5 Companies with Diverse Sustainability Strategies
Where to begin with 2020? It has been an unprecedented and difficult year with our global community facing the most unique challenges. This disruption has given us a distinct opportunity to reflect on the impact and progress regarding people and the environment. For example, buildings were left unoccupied by 90% but only showed a corresponding 30% decrease in energy usage . Vacant building spaces in our towns and cities revealed an unparalleled insight into how much work there is still left to do for building energy efficiency performance.
This revelation is not going unnoticed. We have recently passed the 5th anniversary of signing the Paris Agreement, a historical international treaty with the goal of limiting warming below 2°C, preferably a hard stop at 1.5°C. To achieve this, IPCC urges GHG emissions must halve by 2030 and drop to net-zero by 2050. Both targets are just around the corner. There is no better time than the present (yes, even in a pandemic) to act on reducing our energy consumption and carbon footprint. Key players to achieving these goals are corporations. According to the 2017 CDP Carbon Majors Report, 100 energy companies are responsible for 71% of all industrial emissions.
New Era of Sustainability Goals
The answer to tackling all these sustainability goals? The main go-to comprehensive methods are climate pledges and sustainability commitments. Companies and organizations are amping up the number and intensity of climate goals, from adopting energy efficiency measures, sourcing electricity from clean energy, and increasing community partnerships, all to target carbon neutrality.
Although COVID-19 has presented urgent challenges we are still battling, companies that are able to participate in voluntary emission cuts should not hold back. Specifically, this year saw a notable number of companies and organizations step up to lead the way with ambitious, measurable, and transparent sustainability and energy targets. Using global targets as guidance, the same corporations setting clear sustainability goals also benefit from tangible operational improvements.
Specifically, Science-Based Target initiative (SBTi) is an encouraged method of target setting. SBTi is leading the way in helping companies and cities make thoughtful commitments by breaking down their ultimate goals into multiple smaller targets. This process empowers continued commitment through routine target reporting. This year, only 5 years after being launched, SBTi reached a milestone, with over 1,000 companies worldwide committing to set targets based on science and in alignment with the Paris Agreement goal. Just looking at the number of companies listed as committed in the SBTi database is inspiring.