The current, primary challenge for most companies is finally achieving net-zero emissions. This is normally a long process with multiple stages involving steady, constant reductions of CO2 emissions. Some major players have already committed to achieving Net-Zero and have put out considerable action plans on how they will do it. While this list isn’t exhaustive, it demonstrates the diversity of industries looking to hit net-zero.
Commitments to Net-Zero
While the businesses that are currently at zero emissions tend to be small and designed to be efficient from the ground up, perhaps more impressive are the massive multinationals that have ambitious climate plans already. Coca-Cola, a name that needs no introduction, has announced that they are committed to being fully net-zero by 2040. For a business of this scale to make that transition in under two decades is impressive. So how do they plan to do it?
Their number one focus is their Scope 3 emissions. The food and beverages industry, which Coca-Cola is a large part of, does have a significant carbon footprint. As a result, Coca-Cola is investigating ways to significantly reduce the emissions caused by agriculture and to introduce sustainable energy across all its operations. Can they do it? That remains to be seen, but if yes, it will be a positive sign to companies worldwide that even the biggest players can hit those environmental targets.
Another major player looking to hit net-zero is the South African oil and gas company Sasol. While not the only major company to have such commitments, it’s impressive to see an energy company with such a detailed plan of action. Their plan is particularly ambitious, as their Secunda plant is one of the largest point sources of emissions in the world. Dissimilarly to Coca-Cola, Sasol is focusing on its scope 1 and w emissions, which makes sense for an energy company.
While not the only manufacturing company on this list, it’s impressive to see that Nippon Steel, which, unsurprisingly, is a steelmaker, has plans to be carbon neutral by 2050. The Japanese giant plans a shift to hydrogen energy and an intensive carbon capture and storage strategy. While not as scope 3 intensive as the next company on this list, steelmaking is still a major contributor to CO2 emissions, at roughly 7% of energy-related emissions. If it hits its goals, the company will be carbon-neutral and will utilize fully electric furnaces across all its plants.
Last but not least, US automaker General Motors (GM) has announced that they are planning to be carbon neutral by 2040 as well. Its primary strategy is a transition to electric vehicles and to use fully renewable power across all operations. This is the most all-encompassing plan among the three listed here, as it targets all three scopes. It is worth noting that Ford has similar plans, putting pressure on most automakers to start working towards net-zero. No car manufacturer wants to be left holding the emissions ball in 2040.
What should other companies consider?
These aren’t the only companies set to fully remove their emissions, but they represent a significant shift in corporate strategy. All the aforementioned businesses have a larger than usual contribution to global emissions, so it’s impressive to see their plan to cut it fully. This also creates additional pressure on all other businesses to limit emissions. After all, if general motors can be net-zero, what is your excuse?
These plans also are a great opportunity. Peers can learn from some of the largest companies in the world. Their commitments also make a transition to, for example, hydrogen safer, as the more companies using it, the better the prices, infrastructure, and supply. The same principle applies to renewable energy and carbon-free supply chains.
So if you do not have an emissions reduction strategy, it is time to start planning. The technology and practices are out there to be discovered, decision-makers simply need to do their research and learn from others. ESG management teams need to be set up, funded, and empowered to make your life easier. Regulatory pressure is only going to grow and it will be easier and cheaper to transition now, with a plan, than in a decade at a rush.
The “Climate & Legal Risk Summit: Navigating Sustainability in Energy & Mining” summit is a two-day event that brings together leading legal professionals from the energy and extractive industries for a unique opportunity to learn from and network with their peers. It will be held in Amsterdam, NL, on June 5th-6th, 2023. Visit future-bridge.eu and netzero-events.com or follow us on our social media to track other energy use and decarbonization events.