Only 5% of Europe’s Big Firms on Net-Zero Course, Accenture Says
(Bloomberg) -- Only 1 in 20 of Europe’s largest 1,000 listed companies will achieve their net-zero pledges unless they speed up emissions cuts in the next decade.
Almost one-third of those companies have committed to reaching net zero by 2050, and just 9% of those are on course to succeed if they continue the pace of reduction between 2010 and 2019, according to global professional services firm Accenture Plc.
Seven industries, mostly in the service sectors, will be on track for net zero only if they cut emissions at double the pace in the next 10 years, and then by up to 70% in the following decade.
The goal of net-zero pledges is to nullify the amount of greenhouse gases caused by human activity, and slow the pace of global warming. Companies and organizations look to various methods, such as absorbing carbon dioxide from the atmosphere, to balance pollution they create to pollution they remove.
Peter Lacy, Accenture’s sustainability global lead, said organizations are moving too slowly, and called for robust action to restrict global warming to 1.5 degrees Celsius. With a major United Nations climate conference “just a few weeks away, businesses and governments across all parts of the world need to focus their efforts on concrete action that follows robust targets to meet the challenge our world faces,” he said.
Accenture’s analysis showed that U.K.-listed companies were the most likely to commit to a net-zero target date. More than one in three British firms had done so, compared with just over quarter in Germany and under a fifth in France.
The laggard industries include professional services, information and communications, real estate, retail and consumer services, finance, mining, metals and minerals processing and utilities, according to the report, which also offered recommendations for meeting the deadlines.
European businesses are more determined than ever to in the race to attain net zero, according to Jean-Marc Ollagnier, chief executive officer of Accenture in Europe, who encouraged more companies to publicize targets to speed momentum.
“Net zero will be feasible only with swift, decisive action in this decade. It is possible, but only if European businesses act now,” Ollagnier said. “Progress will only come from a radical rethink of business models, including technological investments, creating greener supply chains, and treating carbon reduction plans with the same rigor as financial budgets.”
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