Analysis that draws upon the Net Zero Tracker database of over 4,000 entities shows that major credibility gaps remain in global national, regional, city and corporate net zero targets, despite global consensus on net zero placing targets under intensifying scrutiny.
The report finds that pledges to reach net zero emissions represent a step up in ambition – for example, 91% of global GDP is now captured by national government net zero targets (up from 68% in December 2020) and more than one-third of the world’s largest publicly traded companies now have net zero targets (up from one-fifth in December 2020).
However, 65% of corporate targets do not yet meet minimum procedural ‘starting line criteria’ recommended by the UN’s Race to Zero campaign. This criteria requires aspects like a published plan, immediate emission-cutting measures and an annual reporting mechanism.
The analysis also notes that around half of the Forbes Global 2,000 does not have a target of any kind.
“With the light of scrutiny bringing greater clarity to net zero, boards should know that it’s becoming much easier for everyone to see who has made a public commitment, and how robust that commitment looks.” – Dr Steve Smith
“Science-aligned net zero pathways are now the baseline expectation for countries, companies, cities, and regions,” said Dr Thomas Hale, part of Oxford Net Zero and the Net Zero Tracker team.
“It’s insane that two-thirds of the largest companies have yet to set a target for a transition that is well underway. But given a third now have – and that number has grown substantially – the increasingly glaring omissions raise the question of whether boards and management are doing their jobs.”
Dr Steve Smith, Executive Director of Oxford Net Zero said: “We built the Net Zero Tracker to provide an open, online resource for checking the net zero pledges of countries, companies, cities and regions. With the light of scrutiny bringing greater clarity to net zero, boards should know that it’s becoming much easier for everyone – from regulators, to customers, investors, and employees – to see who has made a public commitment, and how robust that commitment looks.”
The Net Zero Tracker is a global initiative led by the Energy & Climate Intelligence Unit, Data-Driven EnviroLab, NewClimate Institute and Oxford Net Zero. The analysis was led by Frederic Hans and Takeshi Kuramochi, with substantive contributions from Oxford Net Zero’s Thomas Hale, Steve Smith, Camilla Hyslop and Kaya Axelsson.