Nov 6, 2023 - Energy & Environment

Report: Corporate net zero targets jump, but only 4% meet UN climate goals

Giant wind turbines are powered by strong prevailing winds on May 13, 2008 near Palm Springs, California.

Wind turbines near Palm Springs, California. Photo: David McNew/Getty Images

The number of companies setting net zero emissions targets has risen over 40% to 1,003 since June 2022, but 4% of the targets meet United Nations criteria for reaching the goal.

The big picture: That's according to the latest analysis from Net Zero Tracker, which examines net zero targets in the Forbes Global 2000 list of the world's largest companies, and found the 16-month jump to October brought an aggregate annual revenue which covered such targets, some $27 trillion.

Between the lines: Gaps in company net zero targets mirror problems at the national or international level, per Axios' Andrew Freedman.

What they found: 37% of corporate net zero targets cover Scope 3 emissions, those that are not produced by the company itself but are tied to its value chain, while 13% specified quality thresholds for carbon offsets.

  • This signals an overreliance on low quality offset credits, rather than emissions reductions, per the report that was published Monday.

What they're saying: "A clear line in the sand on net zero has surfaced. Countless net zero targets are credibility light, but now we can say for certain that most of the world's largest listed companies are on the right side of the line on net zero intent," said Net Zero Tracker project lead John Lang, in an a statement.

  • "With credible net zero target-setting a proxy for forward-thinking, future-proofing companies, it begs a simple question: are the firms we're investing in, working for and buying from on the right or wrong side of the line?"

Go deeper... Axios Climate Truths: Race to net zero

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