In November’s Race to Zero newsletter, delve into COP28 preparations, a successful Partner & Accelerator meeting, and the critical role of health in climate action. Celebrate progress across the 5Ps and explore the Built Environment sector’s commitment. Plus, highlights from APAC Climate Week and other noteworthy events.
Redefining corporate responsibility: Major companies push for a net zero nature-positive world
In the urgent race against climate change, major companies around the world are stepping up their efforts to achieve net zero emissions. These industry players not only recognize the importance of mitigating their own environmental impact but are also advocating for systemic change and inspiring others to follow suit. Here, we explore the initiatives undertaken by Race to Zero members, Salesforce, Unilever, L’Oréal, Microsoft, and Nike, as they strive towards a net zero, nature-positive, world.
Salesforce: Pioneering net zero and nature-positive strategies
Member of Race to Zero partner, The Climate Pledge, Salesforce is committed to a net zero, nature-positive future rooted in people and climate justice. The company advocates for critical policies that address the protection, restoration, and enhancement of the world’s natural ecosystems, working in tandem with organizations like Business for Nature to push for policy changes aligned with their nature policy priorities. In anticipation of COP15, Salesforce joined other leading companies in calling on world leaders to require the assessment and disclosure of nature-related dependencies by the end of the decade.
In April 2023, Salesforce released a nature-positive strategy that supports and accelerates their existing climate action plan and net zero commitments. Focused on reducing impacts on nature, leading nature restoration at scale, and accelerating customer success and the nature-positive movement, the strategy aims to inspire other companies to incorporate nature into their climate strategies. Salesforce’s ability to support their vast customer base on their net zero, nature-positive journey sets them apart as a key player in driving change.
Unilever: Forging a sustainable value chain
Unilever, a member of Race to Zero partner, The Climate Pledge, has made significant progress in reducing Scope 1 and 2 greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions from their operations, engaging suppliers, and tackling food waste. They aim to halve food waste in their operations by 2025 and have seen positive results with company-wide food waste warrior programs. Unilever is also committed to achieving a deforestation-free supply chain for key commodities, ensuring that palm oil, paper and board, tea, soy, and cocoa come from deforestation and conversion-free sources.
The company’s climate goals extend beyond emissions reduction. Unilever is dedicated to protecting and regenerating land, forests, and oceans, with a target of 1.5 million hectares by 2030. They also strive for 100% sustainable sourcing of key agricultural crops and empower farmers and smallholders to protect and regenerate farm environments. Additionally, Unilever has taken steps to reduce emissions from their retail stores by transitioning to lower carbon, natural hydrocarbon refrigerants in their ice cream freezers.
L’Oréal: Leading the way with renewable energy
L’Oréal, a member of Race to Zero partner, SBTi, has significantly reduced CO2 emissions from their plants and distribution centres while increasing production. By the end of 2021, they had reduced emissions by 87% compared to 2005, without relying on carbon-offsetting projects. The company has also entered a power purchase agreement with EDF Energy, securing renewable energy from two solar parks, with a combined installed capacity capable of producing 25% of their electricity consumption in France. They aim to use 100% renewable energy across all their sites by 2025.
Microsoft: Driving comprehensive carbon neutrality
Microsoft, a member of Race to Zero partner, The Climate Pledge, has been a trailblazer in the journey towards carbon neutrality. They achieved carbon net zero in 2012 and announced their commitment to becoming carbon negative by 2030. The company has invested in carbon removal projects and secured contracts to remove a cumulative 2.5 million metric tons of carbon dioxide. Microsoft is also transitioning to 100% renewable energy by 2025 and actively working to track and reduce water usage at their data centres.
In addition to these efforts, Microsoft has pursued zero waste certifications for several data centres and introduced the Microsoft Cloud for Sustainability, offering comprehensive sustainability management solutions. Through investments from their Climate Innovation Fund, Microsoft supports initiatives like LanzaJet’s sustainable fuels plant, contributing to the decarbonization of their data centres and the aviation industry. They have also made strides in reducing the carbon footprint of their products and granted significant funding to accelerate the development of climate solutions through the Breakthrough Energy Catalyst.
Nike: Revolutionizing sustainability in the sports industry
Nike, a member of Race to Zero partner, the Fashion Charter for Climate Action, has made remarkable progress in reducing GHG emissions, using environmentally preferred materials in their products, and diverting waste from landfills. With a focus on innovation, they have developed low-carbon materials, decarbonized their value chain, adopted alternative fuels, reduced air freight, improved energy efficiency in Nike spaces, and embraced circularity.
Race to Zero Youth Fellow, Karim Ehab Salah explains how he became involved with the Climate Champions and why regionalization and youth engagement should be at the heart of climate action.
Realizing the challenging transition to a low carbon planet depends on developing and developed nations’ actions. The policies and regulations taken forward by developing nations have the potential of not only addressing climate change but also laying the foundation for a sustainable, equitable, and prosperous future.
The goal of “first movers and doers” in the UN’s Climate Ambition Summit is accelerate the decarbonization of the global economy, armed with not just pledges, but credible actions, policies and plans to deliver climate justice in line with the Secretary General’s Acceleration Agenda.