Microsoft, Unilever, Nike Join Hands To Establish Net Zero Carbon Economy Group

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Microsoft, Unilever, Nike and six other multinational giants have teamed up to establish a new initiative aimed at helping businesses reach net-zero carbon emissions by 2050. Called “Transform to Net Zero”, the group will help develop and provide practical and science-based guidance and roadmaps for companies as a part of its overall ambition to railroad a carbon neutral global economy. 

Microsoft, Unilever and Nike are joined by Starbucks, Danone, carmaker Mercedes-Benz, shipping operator Maersk, cosmetics giant Natura & Co and tech firm Wipro, as well as the nonprofit Environmental Defense Fund (EDF), with support from Business for Social Responsibility (BSR). 

The cross-sector initiative, Transform to Net Zero, will focus its efforts to provide science-based blueprints for companies to achieve net zero emissions by no later than 2050. While the announcement gave little details of exact investments that the founding member firms will be making, it outlined several principles including research, governance and oversight, policy engagement and public disclosure on progress, which will be completed by 2025. 

Outputs from the group will be “widely available to all” with intentions for more companies to join as leaders in the initiative. 

Commenting on the potential impact of the new campaign, Fred Krupp, president of the EDF said it will help close the gap between “businesses that just talk about action and those that are actually getting the job done.” 

“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.”

In the midst of global attention on racial injustice, discrimination and brutality, the industry titans also pledged to ensure that the transition to carbon neutrality is approached in a just and sustainable way. 

“We know that marginalised groups and low-income communities bear the greatest impacts of climate change,” said the group in a statement. “Therefore, we will help enable conditions needed to achieve effective, just, and sustainable climate solutions for people of all gender, race, or skills.”

The announcement of the formation of Transformation to Net Zero comes amid a tidal wave of firms ramping up their climate ambitions in recent weeks. Firms have come under greater spotlight for their responsibility to take action amid the coronavirus pandemic, which has spotlighted the dangers of continued destruction of the natural world. 

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.

Fred Krupp, President of EDF

Realising that business-as-usual is not only no longer acceptable to consumers but also unprofitable in the long term, over 150 of the world’s biggest firms, including some of the founding members of this new group, have signed a joint statement urging world governments to put net-zero emissions at the centre of coronavirus recovery plans.  

Individual companies have also renewed their sustainability commitments, most recently tech giant Apple, who pledged to reach 100% zero carbon emissions across its entire supply chain and product line by 2030. 


Lead image courtesy of Unsplash.

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