New Race to Zero progress report shows action in the real economy

By Climate Champions | December 6, 2023

New data from the Race to Zero campaign shows that – through the leadership of 26 Partners and 31 Accelerators – more than 13,500 organisations are taking action to transition to net zero and halve global emissions by 2030.

Membership of the campaign – from companies, cities, regions, financial, educational and healthcare institutions – has doubled since its launch at COP26 in 2021. 23% of Fortune 500 companies and 58% of FTSE 100 companies are now in the Race. 

However, more is still needed and to cap global warming to 1.5C and emissions reductions action must be scaled up exponentially. 

The Race to Zero progress report shows that membership has more than doubled in the Middle East and North Africa region, and Asia-Pacific is the fastest growing region in the campaign.

Small and Medium Enterprises (SME), which form the backbone of the global economy representing 90% of businesses and more than 50% of employment worldwide (World Bank), now make up over half of the members of the Race representing a 39% growth since 2022, spurred by the SME Climate Hub.

The action of Subnational Governments, such as cities and regions, will be showcased today at COP28 in Dubai today, where the thematic focus in the Global Climate Action zone is on Human Settlements. Of the subset of 381 cities and states and regions reporting to CDP (around 35% of all members), the progress report shows: 

  • Cities signed-up to the campaign are 1.5 times more likely to report a long-term net zero target than those not part of Race to Zero.
  • 84% of cities and 82% of state and regional governments have a climate action plan.
  • 93% of cities and 86% of state and regional governments are undertaking mitigation actions.

Since COP27, over 70 built-environment organisations – representing over $45B in combined revenue – have joined the Race to Zero. As of October, this included 20% of major real estate asset managers and owners.

“Across cities, regions, businesses and community organisations, the world over, bold climate action is underway,” said H.E. Razan Al Mubarak, UN Climate Change High-Level Champion for COP28. “Through Race to Zero, leaders of all kinds are stepping up, and rising to the challenge — there is a groundswell of momentum.”

“The urgency of the climate crisis now demands an inclusive response at speed and scale,” added Dr. Mahmoud Mohieldin, UN Climate Change High-Level Champion for COP27. “As there are many efforts aiming at enhancing accountability for net zero pledges, we encourage all non-state actors to take bold action and join us in this race to a healthier, fairer and carbon neutral world.”

“Small and medium-sized businesses are essential for the livelihoods of communities and local economies, and without their involvement in the net zero transition, we cannot keep 1.5°C goals within reach,” said María Mendiluce, CEO of We Mean Business Coalition, a founding member of the SME Climate Hub. “ The SME Climate Hub has provided an official pathway for thousands of small businesses to make a credible climate commitment through the Race to Zero, and the tools needed to transition to net zero emissions.”

“This year’s Race to Zero progress report highlights positive strides and growing membership around the world, signalling progress in the real economy”, added Johan Falk, CEO and Co-Founder Exponential Roadmap Initiative. “Race to Zero has driven a diverse range of actors towards a common goal. To deliver exponential change – we must see accelerated actions and scaled up solutions to meet the critical goal of halving global emissions by 2030.” 

“Through Cities Race to Zero, hundreds of local governments are doubling down on their commitments to targets and actions that are net zero aligned,” shared Andy Deacon the Co-Managing Director of the Global Covenant of Mayors for Climate and Energy (GCoM). “This is a crucial opportunity for collaboration across levels of government – responding to the call from the Coalition for High Ambition Multi-Level Partnerships, or CHAMP, launched at COP28.”


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