B-Lab and the Race to Zero
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The UN Secretary General’s High Level Expert Group on Net Zero Emissions Commitments (HLEG) published on Tuesday 8 November their 10 recommendations for net zero integrity across non-state actor commitments in the report, ‘Integrity Matters’.
We are pleased to see significant alignment between Race to Zero’s criteria and the HLEG recommendations. The report itself states that these recommendations “build on credible existing initiatives like Race to Zero and the Science Based Targets initiative” (p.7). The work of Race to Zero Partners has informed this “universal definition for net zero” (p.2), endorsed by the Secretary General of the United Nations. We welcome the focus on a pivot to regulation, which is well aligned with Race to Zero’s 5th P (‘Persuade’), and ideas in the Pivot Point Report.
Trillions of dollars worth of investments are needed each year to create a net-zero emissions world and build resilience for the most vulnerable. To that end, the UN Climate Change High-Level Champions published on Wednesday 9 November a new report, ’Assets to Flows’, that summarises key insights on what it will take to convert financial assets into flows. The report is derived from a series of regional forums co-hosted by the COP27 Presidency, the UN Regional Economic Commissions, and The High-Level Champions for COP26 & COP27, that took place this year with the objective to connect investors with the trillion dollar opportunity to finance climate action. The report was accompanied by a compendium of 128 projects focused on climate and the SDGS, identified through the regional forums to help build the project pipeline. https://climatechampions.unfccc.int/wp-content/uploads/2022/11/1-Compendium-of-Climate-Related-Initiatives-1.pdf. This effort was recognised in the Sharm el-Sheikh Implementation Plan.
Net zero alliances from the finance sector are collaborating on a pan-finance sector level through the Glasgow Financial Alliance for Net Zero (GFANZ). Publications released included pan-financial sector net-zero transition planning tools and guidance, as well as actions to mobilise capital to emerging markets and developing economies. The GFANZ Africa Advisory Board and Network, launched in September in Egypt, released its priorities and strategy for 2023. These include project pipeline development, reducing the cost of climate finance and de-risking, maximising carbon currency benefits to Africa, and incorporating African insights into GFANZ outputs.
On Finance Day, three of Race to Zero’s Finance Partners released their progress reports with over 300 interim net zero targets now set by finance sector participants (see our LinkedIn post here):
Race to Zero Campaign Manager, Fi Macklin, was a keynote speaker for Corporate Knight’s ‘Action Declaration on Climate Policy Engagement’, launched on Tuesday 8 November.
Fi Macklin and Climate Champions’ Senior Policy Advisor, Tessa Ferry, also took part in a We Mean Business Roundtable on Responsible Policy Engagement on Thursday 8 November.
On Thursday 17 November, Exponential Roadmap Initiative and partners announced their international call to action ‘We Can Do It’, calling on people to change the narrative from one of doom and gloom – to positive action (watch from 5:37).
All of this work will inform Race to Zero’s engagement in 2023 with cities/ regions, businesses, finance and others, to create a ‘Handbook’ on the 5th P – ‘Persuade’. That handbook will sign-post resources and case studies for non-state actors to align their policy engagement with net zero goals.
On Thursday 10 November, we sat down for dinner with members of Race to Zero’s Expert Peer Review Group, to discuss an improved annual review process for 2023, and a potential Research Agenda – particularly for fair share and equity. On Friday 11 November, we were pleased to attend two Partner events. First, Planet Mark hosted a session ‘Turning Net Zero Target into Action: The Practical Implementation of the Race to Zero’. We discussed the challenges SMEs face in implementing net zero – and the need to spotlight the ‘rockstars’ of the Race to Zero campaign.
Second, we tuned in to the UNFCCC Fashion Charter Event (a Race to Zero Partner), where brands in the fashion industry shared their decarbonisation journeys, and were challenged by a youth representative to address the links between fast fashion and the oil and gas industry. We were pleased to see Ms Syeda Faiza Jamil (from our Race to Zero Accelerator Net Zero Pakistan), take the stage during this event – an example of Partner-Accelerator collaboration in action! On the same day, we shared our new Race to Zero video, and refreshed Race to Zero website. You can share the post here.
Nature-based solutions took the stage on Saturday 12 November at COP27. Race to Zero acknowledges the importance of nature in its criteria: encouraging members to halt deforestation, protect biodiversity and integrate nature-based solutions in transition plans (see ‘Pledge’ and ‘Plan’ leadership practices).
Pivoting to nature positive Land-use, Food and Agriculture is also part of the systems change Race to Zero wants to drive forward. Climate Champions and 20 Partners support a 2030 Nature Breakthrough: where >10Gt CO2 emissions is mitigated per year through nature-based solutions, achieving net zero (in land-use) by 2030.
You can watch Race to Zero Engagement Lead, Tessa Vincent, talk about nature-based solutions in the Exponential Race to Zero Event here (watch from 5:04 onwards).
On Monday 14 November, we had an excellent in-person session with our Race to Zero Partners and Accelerators, to plan for 2023 across four pillars: (1) Accelerating Delivery (2) Transparently Tracking Progress (3) Regionalisation and (4) Activating Policy. It was fantastic to hear from members of the Campaigns Team, the Expert Peer Review Group, Partners and Accelerators. Over the next month, we will engage further with our Race to Zero community – as well as the new Climate Champions from UAE – to inform our strategy for next year. We are already excited for the year ahead!
During COP27 Week 2, we also took part in a number of Partner and Accelerator Events, such as (1) Japan Climate Initiative’s Non-State Actor Event – showcasing action across youth, finance, Tokyo, business and faith-based groups; (2) Alliances for Climate Action’s (ACA’s) Strategy Day; and (3) the Exponential Solutions in the Race to Zero event, where Fi Macklin speaks about the progress of Race to Zero since its launch in June 2020. Fi notes we have built “a groundswell of voluntary momentum” (watch from 6:03 here).
7. Reconfiguring the Law for a Net Zero Future
On Wednesday 16 November, we hosted a ‘Futures Lab’ on ‘Reconfiguring the Law for a Net Zero Future’, with around 50+ attendees. The event was opened by Alexia Leclercq, a Climate Activist from Texas, who has taken part in writing the Environmental Justice for All Act, and told us to design laws by talking first with those who are most impacted.
Alexia was joined by fantastic speakers from DLA Piper, Stop Ecocide International, Delphis Eco, We Mean Business, Sistema B, Climate Litigation Network, Cleary Gottlieb Steen & Hamilton LLP and more. They discussed how the law needs to level the playing field, and create enabling conditions to protect the environment.
The final ‘Call to Action’ came from our Accelerator, Net Zero Lawyers Alliance (Georgina Beasley), who encouraged lawyers to intimately know their area of law (their “card” in a deck of legal cards) – and how it intersects with climate change. Every area of law needs to evolve to achieve a net zero future. You can watch the full recording here (from 1:11:00).
Following the High-Level Closing Event on Thursday 17 November, Race to Zero and Race to Resilience hosted a Campaigns Reception. Bringing together those racing in our community, the reception was a chance to reflect on the success of both campaigns. For Race to Zero, we reflected on:
The reception also provided the opportunity to farewell our optimistic, action-oriented and visionary UN Climate Change High-Level Champion, Nigel Topping. We will continue to build the momentum and legacy that Nigel has instilled in the Race to Zero campaign, with our mandate in the 5-year Improved Marrakech Partnership, and with the support from High-Level Champion Dr Mahmoud Mohieldin, our incoming Champion, and you all.
Join us for a webinar to learn how you, as a B Corp, can stay within the Race to Zero.
The Race to Zero was busy in February translating material across six UN languages, putting a call out for case studies, and running Expert Peer Review Group & Partner workshops on the campaign’s criteria.
Race to Zero member, Interface, a global commercial flooring company specializing in carbon negative carpet tiles and resilient flooring, shares how the company looks to nature to inspire innovative solutions to make business more sustainable.