Race to Zero campaign launches new tool to enhance transparency of net zero commitments

By Climate Champions | March 29, 2023

Race to Zero has today released its Data Explorer, a new tool showcasing climate data from the largest 500 companies in the campaign. The Data Explorer is a critical first step in enhancing the transparency of net zero commitments. It was developed by Climate Arc, and is powered by data from the world’s largest environmental disclosure system, CDP. The tool tracks the progress of companies in meeting the Race to Zero Criteria, including the pace of emissions reductions. Headline findings include:

  • Nearly two thirds of the 500 companies have published a plan to get to net zero emissions by 2050.
  • 393 companies published historical emissions data. Their emissions are falling at a mean rate of -6.45% per year over the period 2019 to 2021, based on the companies’ direct (scope 1) and indirect (scope 2) emissions.
  • Around 90% of companies have set a specific date for their net zero target, and over 70% have an absolute interim target by 2030.
  • Around three quarters of companies are disclosing through CDP, with other information sourced from publicly available sources through Climate Arc.

The Race to Zero Data Explorer is a contribution to the Global Stocktake process this year, which aims to assess the world’s collective progress towards achieving the long-term goals of the Paris Agreement.

What the tool reveals are significant differences in the quantity and quality of data published by the 500 companies. Most striking is the lack of consistency of reporting for scope 3 emissions, which looks at the full value chain of a company. Out of a total of 15 scope 3 categories, about 30% of companies are reporting three categories or fewer, thereby not reporting on the full impact of their companies activities.

To remedy these inconsistencies, Race to Zero is partnering with leading environmental reporting platform, CDP. In 2023, CDP will make its reporting platform available to all Race to Zero members to facilitate standardised and transparent reporting against the Race to Zero Criteria.

The Data Explorer is an initial effort to increase the transparency of the Race to Zero campaign. Future data snapshots could offer valuable input to  platforms such as the UN Global Climate Action Portal and the incoming Net Zero Data Public Utility.

What the tool also reveals is that there are a vanguard of companies that are already leading the race. One company featured is Ericsson, whose net zero target is set to 2040, 10 years prior to the 2050 global milestone. They have also committed to halve value chain emissions by 2030. Ericsson has a publicly available plan – which is an important demonstration of their 1.5C alignment.

Another company featured on the ‘Data Explorer’ is Unilever, who is a member of Race to Zero via SBTi and Exponential Roadmap Initiative. Their data shows emissions reduction and a progressive net zero target across their value chain by 2039, with interim absolute targets for 2025 and 2030 (scopes 1 and 2).

In addition to the 500 largest companies in the campaign, the Race to Zero is engaging a wider group of companies to facilitate their own progress reporting to showcase how they are delivering climate commitments. For example, SME Climate Hub, a Race to Zero partner, recently launched a reporting tool for Small and Medium sized Enterprises (SMEs). This will help summarise SMEs’ annual greenhouse gas emissions, actions taken to reduce emissions and provides an opportunity to report on climate solutions. A comprehensive overview for all companies in the Race to Zero will be included in the annual Progress Report, published at the UN’s climate conference in Dubai at the end of the year.

H.E. Razan Al Mubarak, UN Climate Change High-Level Champion from the COP28 Presidency says: “We know that the Global Stocktake will tell us we are globally off track on emissions reductions. I am happy to see Race to Zero companies are moving in the right direction, and I am confident that bridging multi-stakeholder partnerships between non-state actors and governments will deliver the policy outcomes to drive the real economy even further, and course correct any inadequate action. Thank you to the partners that brought the Data Explorer to life.”

Dr. Mahmoud Mohieldin, UN Climate Change High-Level Champion from the COP27 Presidency says: “We collectively need to rally non-State actors to a maximum effort toward or beyond a fair share of halving emissions by 2030. A crucial part of this is transparently tracking progress to identify how far we have come, and how far there is still to go. This would enhance accountability. I’m delighted to see this Data Explorer launched to help Race to Zero and its Partners continue to better understand this landscape, and I’m very grateful for Climate Arc and CDP’s support in providing us with this important data. We must create the needed partnerships to provide the technical support and capacity building assistance to companies from developing countries to achieve their net zero pledges.”

Catherine McKenna, Former Chair at the UN’s High-level Expert Group on the net zero emissions commitments of non-state entities said: “This is now the era of accountability. Bringing to light data on the actual progress of companies and financial institutions on climate is critical to ensuring integrity and tackling greenwashing. The new data explorer platform is a very good first step in the right direction, much more ambition and action is needed now to stay within the 1.5 limit.”

Amir Sokolowski, Global Director Climate, CDP: “CDP is happy to share its data with Race to Zero to help measure progress toward the net-zero commitments made. The recent IPCC report was a final warning that we must heed. We are almost out of time and urgent action is required at scale. Race to Zero’s Data Explorer provides an additional tool to help gauge action on commitments, set better targets, and develop and disclose credible climate transition plans. The tool shows encouraging signs, but companies must continue to prepare themselves by measuring and managing environmental risks through disclosure and ensuring they have the ability to adapt through resilient supply chains and business models”.

Luiz Amaral, CEO of the SBTi, says: “The Race to Zero Data Explorer is helping to drive further transparency around corporate climate commitments. It is an important tool that will complement and support the SBTi’s work in measuring and reporting progress against companies’ science-based climate targets. We support these efforts to increase transparency and accountability.”

Johan Falk, Co-Founder and Head of Exponential Roadmap Initiative says: “We’re proud of our commitment to be Net Zero by 2040, which has been translated into action through rigorous targets and ways of working within the organisation. We endorse the Race to Zero Data Explorer as a tool to ensure transparency and accountability, and encourage other companies who are not part of  the Net Zero journey, to get onboard now, or we will fail to limit global warming to 1.5°C.”

Thomas Lingard, Global Head of Sustainability (Environment) from Unilever says: “It’s important for companies to be transparent about the progress they’re making on their net zero journeys and Unilever is pleased to be featured on Race to Zero’s Data Explorer. As we work towards our goal of reaching net zero by 2039, our focus is on emissions reduction. With the lion’s share of our emissions sitting outside of our direct control, we’re now working with our suppliers to accelerate climate action and help bring solutions to scale.”

The Data Explorer was created by Climate Arc, CDP, SDG Labs, Race to Zero and Applied Works. Climate Arc was given access to the London Stock Exchange Group’s Refinitiv Platform to identify the top 500 companies by revenue which joined Race to Zero before November 1st 2021.

For any questions, please refer to the Race to Zero Data Explorer Frequently Asked Questions, or contact media@climatechampions.team

About Race to Zero

Race to Zero, led by the UN Climate Change High-Level Champions, is a global campaign rallying non-state actors – including companies, cities, regions, financial, educational, and healthcare institutions – to take rigorous and immediate action to halve global emissions by 2030 and deliver a healthier, fairer zero carbon world. It now includes more than 8,300 companies representing all sectors of the economy, with nearly 600 financial institutions representing $130 trillion in assets under management.

Race to Zero criteria requires members to Pledge, Plan, Proceed, Publish and Persuade. These criteria apply to all members, who join Race to Zero through Partner initiatives. The Partners manage the operationalisation of these criteria by their members.

About Climate Arc

Climate Arc is a philanthropic organisation working to mainstream climate science into financial decision making – at speed and scale. It tackles the barriers preventing private

capital flowing to climate solutions through developing the pathways, intelligence and human capacity needs of financial decision makers.

About CDP

CDP is a global non-profit that runs the world’s environmental disclosure system for companies, cities, states and regions. Founded in 2000 and working with more than 740 financial institutions with over $130 trillion in assets, CDP pioneered using capital markets and corporate procurement to motivate companies to disclose their environmental impacts, and to reduce greenhouse gas emissions, safeguard water resources and protect forests. Nearly 20,000 organisations around the world disclosed data through CDP in 2022, including more than 18,700 companies worth half of global market capitalization, and over 1,100 cities, states and regions. Fully TCFD aligned, CDP holds the largest environmental database in the world, and CDP scores are widely used to drive investment and procurement decisions towards a zero carbon, sustainable and resilient economy. CDP is a founding member of the Science Based Targets initiative, We Mean Business Coalition, The Investor Agenda and the Net Zero Asset Managers initiative. Visit cdp.net or follow us @CDP to find out more.

About SDG Labs 

SDG Labs is a consortium of scientists aiming to pool their interdisciplinary capabilities to support the development and achievement of the United Nations’ Sustainable Development Goals. Its capabilities range from Financial Data Science and Machine Learning to SDG domain focused competencies in Climate Transition Engineering, Gender, or Consumer Protection research. Its mission is inspired by Médecins Sans Frontières / Doctors without Borders as it emphasises impartiality and financial independence in its analyses and interpretations, thereby avoiding corporate capture and political bias. SDGLabs.ai has worked on projects inter alia with the United Nations (Department for Economic and Social Affairs), the International Finance Corporation, the Swedish Foundation for Strategic Environmental Research (Mistra), the Global Legal Entity Identifier Foundation (GLEIF), the German Environmental Agency (UBA), the German Federal Environmental Foundation (DBU) and the German Ministry for Justice and Consumer Protection (BMJV).


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