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Transform to Net Zero: Microsoft, Nike, Starbucks team up on corporate climate alliance

Illustration of a smokestack

Illustration of a smokestack

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A clutch of major multinational corporates including Microsoft, Danone, Nike, Unilever, Starbucks and Mercedes-Benz together have launched a new forum dedicated to sharing resources, tactics and strategies aimed at speeding up the business community's transition to net zero. 

The Transform to Net Zero initiative launched Tuesday will see members of the coalition — which also include Danish shipping giant Maersk, Indian information technology company Wipro and Brazilian beauty company Natura & Co — collaborate on research, guidance and roadmaps to help businesses slash their carbon emissions in line with a 1.5 degrees Celsius global warming trajectory.

The group, which expects to complete its work by 2025, aims to encourage businesses around the world to adopt science-based climate targets that address the environmental impact of their full value chains, sometimes known as Scope 3 emissions. They also have committed to share information on investing in carbon-reduction technologies and to collectively push for public policies that accelerate the net zero transition.

Microsoft president Brad Smith said that the initiative would help companies at all stages of their decarbonization journey turn climate commitments into "real progress" towards net zero.

The business world of the future cannot look like it does now.

"No one company can address the climate crisis alone," he added. "That's why leading companies are developing and sharing best practices, research, and learnings to help everyone move forward." 

The nonprofit business network BSR is serving as the initiative's secretariat and the Environmental Defense Fund (EDF) is also assisting with the initiate as the single non-corporate member.

EDF president Fred Krupp said that the initiative held "huge potential" to address growing disparities between corporate talk and action on climate change.

"The new initiative holds tremendous potential for closing these gaps," he said. "Especially if other businesses follow in the coalition's footsteps, leading by example and using the most powerful tool that companies have for fighting climate change: their political influence." 

The founding members confirmed that they would make all findings public and encouraged other companies to sign up over the weeks, months and years to come.

Many founding members of the Transform to Net Zero initiative already have set their sights on achieving net zero emissions. Consumer goods giant Unilever has committed to achieving net zero across its value chain by 2039 while Microsoft has committed to an industry-leading goal of becoming "carbon negative" by 2030, replacing more carbon into the atmosphere that it generates. 

Meanwhile Unilever CEO Alan Jope also welcomed the launch of the new forum. "The business world of the future cannot look like it does now; in addition to decarbonization, a full system transformation is needed," he said. "That why we're pleased to join other leading businesses as a founding member of Transform to Net Zero so we can work together and accelerate the strategic shift that is needed to achieve net zero emissions."

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