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New ONZ report on Net Zero Commitments by Businesses in Africa

Nov 16, 2022

ONZ fellow Dr Jessica Omukuti has undertaken a stocktake study on net zero commitments by Africa’s largest publicly listed companies.

For the report, the team gathered data on the emission targets of Africa’s 250 largest publicly listed companies. It finds that half of them have targets, 51 have net zero targets and many more will be setting targets over the next few years.

The transition to low emissions in Africa must be just. The report also makes recommendations on the guidance African companies will need from international standards-setting bodies and networks.

Key findings include:

  • Africa is at a critical period in its development journey. Africa has the least historical contribution to greenhouse gas emissions, yet it is disproportionately affected by climate change, already resulting in losses in the growth of GDP per capita.
  • There are concerns that net zero commitments ignore historical responsibility and may exacerbate inequalities between countries. Just transitions in Africa require investments in renewables; achievement of national development goals; elimination of poverty.
  • However, the climate action policy landscape in Africa is aligned with transitions to low emissions – countries have long-term net zero targets, all have communicated their (updated) NDCs. The private sector drives development, growth and innovation and so can accelerate progress towards just transition.
  • Half of Africa’s 250 largest publicly listed companies have emission targets; those without targets are likely to set them in next 3 years. 51 have net zero targets. Companies aim to meet targets by efficient operations, investments in renewables and investments in voluntary carbon credits.
  • Few companies declare reliance on Nature-based Solutions for emission targets through offsetting and Carbon Dioxide Removals (CDR).
  • The next 3 years will see more of Africa’s largest companies set, revise and improve emission targets. They’ll need context-specific guidance from international net zero standards-setting bodies & networks on integrating emission reduction with green growth, restoration of nature, resilience and adaptation.

Read the full report.

With thanks to the European Climate Foundation for funding this work.

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