Size doesn’t matter: How industries of all scales use ‘Persuade’ to drive towards net zero

By Climate Champions | June 8, 2023

A collective worldwide effort is underway to halve global emissions by 2030 and achieve net zero by 2050, an ambitious target set by the Race to Zero. To accelerate the transition, corporations and organisations are adopting the campaign’s ‘5P’ criteria, of which one pillar is ‘Persuade.’ In other words, aligning external policy and engagement with this goal within 12 months of joining. Below we look at several case studies that exhibit how diverse companies, from fashion retailers to technology giants, are integrating these efforts into their core strategies.

H&M Group: Advocating policy reform

Proactive policy advocacy is essential to ensure national governments and stakeholders align to 1.5. Over the past three years, a growing number of signatories of Race to Zero Partner’s Fashion Charter have engaged with the public policy sector on driving positive environmental change. In 2022, 26% of the charter’s signatories reported engaging with policymakers on climate-related issues, 29% reported influencing policy, law, or regulation and 50% report they engaged with trade associations on climate-related issues. H&M Group, for example, has underscored the need for policy reforms for industry-wide impact, and has called for project-specific renewable electricity generation through contracts with the electricity retailers and corporate Power Purchase Agreements (PPAs) as key policy deliverables. They have also advocated for the continued development of transparent, traceable, and credible energy attribute certificate systems to ensure that price mechanisms support rather than hinder the development of the renewable electricity needed to move the industry towards electrification of heat and steam processes.

Microsoft: Pioneering equitable climate transition

Supporting an equitable climate transition through a dual commitment to net zero and climate justice is one of Microsoft’s priorities. The company is currently exploring how to integrate climate justice into national and international approaches by engaging with a variety of organisations to explore how others are addressing the topic. For example, Microsoft partnered with Sol Systems to invest in solar energy projects in communities most affected by climate change. This engagement has informed Microsoft’s efforts related to climate justice policy advocacy.

Unilever: Aligning lobbying with climate policy

Unilever is committed to ensuring that all direct lobbying relevant to climate policy is consistent with their stated objectives in delivering the 1.5°C ambition of the Paris Agreement. They support policies that accelerate change towards a low-carbon economy, drive growth and reduce risk.

Unilever has long championed the importance of aligning indirect climate lobbying through trade associations. Since 2019, they have asked the trade associations of which Unilever is a member to confirm that their lobbying activities are in line with the Paris Agreement too. In some cases, this triggered discussions to clarify existing positions and Unilever continued efforts in this area as well as publishing an annual list of principal trade associations.

The Business Pledge for Just Transition and Decent Green Jobs

Acciona, Enel, Engie,  Iberdrola,  Ørsted, Sodexo Iberia (Spanish division) We Mean Business Coalition: 27 major businesses across the economy have joined the Business Pledge for Just Transition and Decent Green Jobs coordinated by the B team. The pledge signals a company’s commitment to build decent green jobs in every country it operates in, supporting the just transition of the global economy. Additionally, it encourages companies to implement this commitment across their policies and operations to spur the development of green jobs. From human resources and procurement policies to collective bargaining agreements and employment contracts, companies taking this Pledge ensure they’re holistically transforming the way they do business today, for a better tomorrow. These companies have committed to ensuring over 230,000 directly employed workers across their businesses have green as well as fair, decent and inclusive jobs. They’ve also extended this commitment to the millions of workers in their supply chains and contractors, magnifying the creation of decent green jobs. The pledge sets a high bar on wages, security of employment, health, safety, and social protection, and companies will need to work hard to meet it. The global union movement is ready to make sure that they do.

Vianova: Aiding low-carbon mobility solutions

Paris based small business and SME Climate Hub signatory Vianova enables governments and companies to turn complex data into mobility intelligence to make global transport safer, greener and more efficient.  Vianova’s work supports low-carbon mobility solutions to gradually remove the use of cars in cities. To contextualise this globally, Western Europe emits 1,000 million tons of CO2 equivalent per year from transportation alone. To play a part in reducing these emissions, Vianova believes their digital platform can reduce the energy of transportation by 10% over 5 years in the cities in which they operate. From enabling regulation of shared mobility, to transforming last mile deliveries, and mapping road risk hotspots, Vianova serves cities, fleet operators, and enterprises across the globe to change the way people and goods move and to reduce traffic congestion and CO2 emissions. Small businesses and startups have a major role to play in the race to net zero. They may have less financial power than big corporations but, in some cases, they have a customer base that is rapidly growing and sustainably minded. Connected and vocal, these communities and small businesses can make a difference in how fast our society adopts the right behaviour changes toward achieving climate neutrality.

Hostelería #PorElClima: Decarbonizing the hospitality industry

Hostelería #PorElClima works in cities across Spain including Barcelona, Zaragoza, Valencia, Vitoria and Madrid to help decarbonize the hospitality industry. This is done in collaboration with hospitality associations, public institutions, Mayor’s offices and project partner Coca-Cola Spain who offers both finance and technical support. Cities carry out an emissions analysis of their hospitality establishments which are then shared with public institutions to align the actions with the city’s climate policies and emission reduction activities at hospitality establishments.

Securing Africa’s climate sustainability

CEOs of 55 African businesses (with earnings of about $150 billion) issued a climate action statement with the support of UN Global Compact, calling on global actors to fulfil commitments to secure Africa’s climate sustainability and reinforce their own commitment to climate action within industry. Read more here.

The Aldersgate Group: Advocating policy changes

The Aldersgate Group, a mission driven multi-stakeholder alliance that aims to affect policy change in order to bring about policy progress that will reach the UK’s net zero and environmental targets in an effective and affordable way, has dedicated work streams across eight policy areas including the net zero transition, circular economy, education & skills, and green finance. The Aldersgate Group produces policy recommendation papers and disseminates these across Whitehall, advocating for changes to national policy decisions.

In the past year, Aldersgate Group wrote a private letter to Government ahead of the Spring Statement with 30 business signatories, calling for increasing the scope of mandatory transition plans to include large, private companies. The intervention was welcomed by the Government and in the 2023 Green Finance Strategy, the UK Government committed to consulting on the introduction of disclosure requirements for the UK’s largest companies’ transition plans, if they have them. Similarly, in a submission to the consultation for the 2023 Green Finance Strategy, Aldersgate Group recommended Government should track private financial flows into the net zero economy (underpinned by a green taxonomy). The Strategy noted Government has commissioned two pieces of external research to scope investment tracking methodologies and evaluate available data sources.   In the coming year, the organisation will produce an updated net zero policy tracker, examining the progress to date in the UK to reach net zero by 2050 across the economy. Aldersgate Group will also continue to stress the important role of good, well-designed regulation in achieving the UK’s climate and environmental ambitions, while ensuring that the transition to a net zero emissions and environmentally restorative economy comes with the development of new market opportunities, growing supply chains and job creation.

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