Subnational adoption of bolder science-based targets is surging

A field track
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Companies are increasingly adopting science-based tracking measures.

Growing numbers of businesses around the world are pledging to reduce their greenhouse gas emissions in line with recommendations from climate scientists.

The Science Based Targets Initiative (SBTI) announced last week that more than 130 companies have committed to meet science-based emissions reduction targets since the start of the year — a 39 percent increase on the previous year.

The surge in support for more ambitious targets takes the total number of firms signed up the group to more than 480 global companies from 38 countries, which together represent a combined market capitalization of nearly $10 trillion.

Launched in the wake of the Paris Agreement, the Science Based Targets Initiative encourages companies to set emissions reduction targets in line with the levels identified by climate scientists to prevent dangerous global warming. The scheme independently assesses and approves the targets proposed by businesses based on input from climate scientists.

A total of 17 percent of Fortune Global 500 companies have committed to set science-based emissions reduction targets with Indian company Dalmia Cement, one of the latest major emitters of greenhouse gas to sign up to the initiative.

Other global companies that have joined the scheme this year include French tire manufacturer Michelin, U.S. food producer the Kraft Heinz Company, global brewer AB InBev and Japan's Yamaha Motor Company. 

The latest update came at the Global Climate Action Summit (GCAS) taking place in California last week, where senior figures representing states, cities and businesses have launched a raft of new initiatives to boost clean energy use and slash greenhouse gas emissions.

Pledges announced so far include new commitments to mobilize low carbon investment, drive demand for zero-emission vehicles, enhance energy efficiency and switch to 100 percent renewables.

GCAS co-chair and Mahindra Group CEO Anand Mahindra said the meeting came during "a pivotal year for global climate action."

"Targets based on science are the only effective way to meet the challenges we face," he said. "Around the world, hundreds of businesses are already showing that this is possible with substantial benefits to brand reputation and the bottom line. I urge all other companies to join this initiative immediately. The time for science-based action is now."

SBTI said it has secured strong support from American businesses despite President Donald Trump's announcing the United States would withdraw from the Paris Agreement. More U.S. companies so far have committed to implementing emissions reduction targets under the scheme than from any other country.

The Science Based Targets initiative is a collaboration between United Kingdom-based charity CDP, which supports companies and cities to disclose the environmental impact of major corporations, the United Nations Global Compact, World Resources Institute (WRI) and WWF.

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