ComplianceFinanceNovember 29, 2021

Business Sectors Take on Climate Change

COP26 is over. The delegates and the media have gone home. Now comes the work of putting paper commitments into action.

Many corporations have already started.

Businesses, wanting to do the right thing by their customers, shareholders, investors, communities, and the world at large, have taken it upon themselves to help guide their industry to the Holy Grail: Net Zero carbon emissions.


Take the building and construction sector, for example. The World Green Building Council initiated the Net Zero Carbon Buildings Commitment, which asks businesses, organizations, cities, and subnational governments to tackle operational and embodied carbon emissions through this industry.

One hundred and twenty-two global businesses and organizations agreed to transform the market by considering the whole lifecycle impact of buildings, and implement the principles of the World GBC’s Whole Life Carbon Vision.

Specifically, the Commitment requires that by 2030:

  • Existing buildings reduce their energy consumption and eliminate emissions from energy and refrigerants removing fossil fuel use as fast as practicable (where applicable). Where necessary, compensate for residual emissions.
  • New developments and major renovations are built to be highly efficient, powered by renewables, with a maximum reduction in embodied carbon and compensation of all residual upfront emissions.

If interested, you can contact your local Green Building Council.

Air and Travel

Current emissions from air travel account for approximately 2.5% of global CO2 emissions, according to the World Economic Forum. In their report, “Creating zero-emission aviation with hydrogen and electric power,” they suggest that “by the middle of the 21st century, demand for flying could increase aviation’s greenhouse gas emissions by upwards of 300% over 2005 levels if no drastic measures are taken to reduce emissions.”

To combat this, the industry is taking several steps.

Companies such as Airbus, Alaska Airlines, Ampaire, Boeing, Easyjet, Embraer, Eve Air Mobility, Gulfstream, Joby Aviation, MagniX, Rolls-Royce, Schiphol, Surf Air, Universal Hydrogen, Wright Electric, and Zeroavia, joined the World Economic Forum in their Target True Zero initiative. True Zero is working to accelerate the implementation and scaling of zero-emission aviation through advancing electric, hydrogen, and hybrid flight technologies.

According to the report, “By some estimates, all flights of less than 2,500 miles, representing today more than 50% of CO2 emissions of aviation, could be electrified or powered by hydrogen.”

Also, an Aviators Group, founded by Amazon Air, Alaska Airlines, JetBlue, and United Airlines, announced their commitment to the Sustainable Aviation Buyers Alliance (SABA). SABA launched last spring as a joint initiative of RMI and Environmental Defense Fund. SABA seeks to bring together customers who are interested in reducing air transportation emissions through investing in alternative, high-integrity sustainable aviation fuels (SAF). Their goal is to boost SAF’s use to 10% of the global jet fuel demand by 2030.

Hydrogen, the New Oil

H2Zero, an initiative of the World Business Council for Sustainable Development (WBCSD) and the Sustainable Markets Initiative (SMI), will accelerate the use and production of hydrogen as the future energy.

Twenty-eight major companies, representing sectors from mining to energy, vehicle and equipment manufacturers, and financial services, pledged demand, supply and financial or technical support.

“The uncertainty over supply and the lack of commitment for demand are two challenges associated with the development of hydrogen as part of the global energy system,” said Ben van Beurden, Chief Executive Officer of Shell and Chair of the Hydrogen Taskforce at SMI. “We brought companies together to tackle this status quo and send a strong signal to markets and governments for hydrogen to reach its full potential.”

The group estimates that use of hydrogen could reduce carbon dioxide emissions by more than 14 million tons a year.

Don’t Forget Retail

Best Buy, H&M Group, Ingka Group (IKEA), Kingfisher plc, and Walmart are challenging retailers worldwide to join the Race to Zero Breakthroughs: Retail Campaign. This initiative aims to inspire “retailers worldwide to set science-based targets aimed at halving greenhouse gas emissions by 2030 and achieving net-zero carbon emissions by 2050 at the latest.”

Kudos to businesses, private organizations, and investors worldwide. Thanks to you, the global economy may transform the environment.

Tune in next year for COP27, in Sharm El-Sheikh, Egypt, November 2022, to see how this all plays out.

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