Time to join the Race To Zero

Madelyn Postman

Madelyn Postman

You have probably heard of the Race To Zero but it may have raised some questions. Who’s behind it, what does it mean, and how can your business participate?

As described on the Race To Zero website:

“Race To Zero is a global campaign to rally leadership and support from businesses, cities, regions, investors for a healthy, resilient, zero carbon recovery that prevents future threats, creates decent jobs, and unlocks inclusive, sustainable growth. All members are committed to the same overarching goal: achieving net zero emissions by 2050 at the very latest.”

The campaign was created by the UNFCCC (the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change, an international environmental treaty signed in 1992 at the Earth Summit in Rio) and launched by COP26 President Alok Sharma on World Environment Day last year, 5 June 2020. Large companies like Diageo and Rolls-Royce have already joined.

As you hear more and more about the Race To Zero, you will also hear a lot about and from Nigel Topping, who is the UK’s High Level Climate Action Champion. As host of COP26, which was postponed from 2020 and will take place in Glasgow this November, the UK, including UK businesses, are taking a leadership role in the Race To Zero.

As an SME, the place to start is the SME Climate Hub. There you can pledge to join the race — with a commitment to achieve net zero emissions for your company by 2030, 2040 or 2050 — and access tools and resources like the 1.5°C Business Playbook, which sets out a four-pillar strategy for the race:

1. Reduce your own emissions

2. Reduce your value chain emissions

3. Integrate climate in business strategy

4. Influence climate action in society

Numerous frameworks including B Corp certification support the Race To Zero.

All participants in the race need to fulfil these criteria:

1. Pledge: Pledge at the head-of-organization level to reach (net)-zero in the 2040s or sooner, or by midcentury at the latest, in line with global efforts to limit warming to 1.5C. 

2. Plan: In advance of COP26, explain what steps will be taken toward achieving net zero, especially in the short- to medium-term. Set an interim target to achieve in the next decade, which reflects a fair share of the 50% global reduction in CO2 by 2030 identified in the IPCC Special Report on Global Warming of 1.5C 

3. Proceed: Take immediate action toward achieving net zero, consistent with delivering interim targets specified. 

4. Publish: Commit to report progress at least annually, including via, to the extent possible, platforms that feed into the UNFCCC Global Climate Action Portal 

As always, the Outrage + Optimism podcast is a delightful way to find out more, currently with their series on The Race To Zero!

And here you can read about the difference between net zero and carbon neutral.

Please get in touch if you would like support creating and implementing your company’s net zero strategy. Ring us on +44 20 8187 7040, email madelyn@grain-sustainability.com, or book in a chat.

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