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COP21: 114 Companies Commit to Set Science-Based Emissions-Reduction Targets, Surpassing Goal

Image credit: WRI

The Science-Based Targets initiative announced Tuesday that 114 companies have now committed to set emissions-reduction targets in line with what scientists say is necessary to keep global warming below the dangerous threshold of 2 degrees Celsius. The announcement was made at the LPAA Business focus event hosted by Caring for Climate at COP21 in Paris. The companies participating — which include Sustainable Brands member companies Avery Dennison, Caesars Entertainment, L’Oréal, Mars, Natura, Nestlé, Philips and Unilever — have combined annual emissions of at least 476 million tonnes CO2, equivalent to the annual emissions of South Africa or 125 coal-fired power plants. Their commitment to make ambitious reductions shows how significantly business action can contribute to the global effort to mitigate climate change. A full list of companies is available here.

WRI also announced the release of the new CAIT Climate Data Explorer Business platform, an interactive database of corporate emissions and emissions reduction targets. This new tool is built on WRI’s CAIT Climate Data Explorer platform, a highly trusted source for international climate data and visualizations. Company data is provided by CDP and the Science-Based Targets initiative.

The Science-Based Targets initiative, a joint effort of CDP, WRI, WWF and UN Global Compact, works with companies to set science-based emissions targets and only approves targets that meet its strict criteria. 10 companies have already had their targets approved: Coca-Cola Enterprises, Dell, Enel, General Mills, Kellogg, NRG Energy, Procter & Gamble, Sony and Thalys. Combined, these 10 companies will reduce their emissions from operations by 799 million tonnes CO2 over the lifetime of the targets, approximately equivalent to 1.86 billion barrels of oil not burned. These companies have also made ambitious commitments to reduce indirect emissions throughout their value chains.

When the Science-Based Targets initiative launched, its goal was to recruit 100 companies by the end of 2015 to commit to setting a science-based target. There are now 114 businesses signed up and more are joining all the time, showing that leading companies recognize that setting ambitious reduction targets is in their own best interest and a key part of good corporate strategy.

Kellogg, NRG Energy, and Enel also announced Tuesday that the Science-Based Targets initiative has approved the following targets:

  • Kellogg Company commits to a 15 percent reduction in emissions intensity (tonne of CO2e per tonne of food produced) by 2020 from a 2015 base year (scopes 1 & 2). Kellogg commits to reduce absolute value chain emissions by 20 percent from 2015-2030 (scope 3). Kellogg also has a long-term target of a 65 percent absolute reduction in emissions by 2050 from a 2015 base-year (scopes 1 & 2) and to reduce absolute value chain emissions by 50 percent from 2015-2050 (scope 3).
  • NRG Energy commits to a 50 percent reduction of absolute emissions by 2030 from a 2014 base-year (scopes 1, 2 & 3). The company also has a long-term target: a reduction of 90 percent absolute emissions by 2050 from 2014 levels (scopes 1, 2 & 3).
  • Enel commits to reduce CO2 emissions 25 percent per kWh by 2020, from a 2007 base year. The target includes the decommissioning of 13 GW of fossil power plants in Italy, and is a milestone in the long-term goal to operate in carbon neutrality by 2050.

“As a global food company, we recognize the significant impacts climate change can have on our business if left unaddressed. That’s why we are taking action across our value chain,” said Ken Powell, chairman and CEO of General Mills. “However, we understand that no one company, industry or government will mitigate climate change. It is an urgent and shared global challenge. Real progress toward more sustainable emission levels will require unprecedented collaboration and collective innovation.”

“As a global energy company, Enel is ready to challenge business-as-usual habits and take the lead on transforming the energy infrastructure. We are committed to reach carbon neutrality by 2050. This is consistent with the level of de-carbonization required to limit global warming to 2 degrees.” says Francesco Starace, CEO and general manager of Enel, the world’s largest power company in terms of customers. “In order to support this energy transition, the Group is promoting ambitious, cost-effective environmental policies, thus accelerating the transition to a smarter, efficient, renewably powered economy.”

Dell has pledged to reduce emissions from its facilities and logistics operations by 50 percent by 2020 over 2011 levels, and reduce the energy intensity of its product portfolio 80 percent by 2020. “We are also very aware of the role technology plays in effective strategies to address the causes and consequences of climate change,” said David Lear, executive director of sustainability at Dell. “We look forward to collaborating with customers, suppliers and partners who are undertaking the same journey, and have established their own goals or will be doing so in the future.”

The 114 companies that have agreed to set science-based targets represent at least $932 billion USD in total combined profits (2014) — greater than the GDP of Indonesia. Almost a quarter of the companies who have signed up are from the US, with the UK, France, and Canada being the next most common home locations.

The Science-Based Targets Initiative will continue accepting new companies while working to shape new targets for all participants.


Launched in 2006, Sustainable Brands has become a global learning, collaboration, and commerce community of forward-thinking business and brand strategy, marketing, innovation and sustainability professionals who are leading the way to a better future. We recognize that brands today have… [Read more about Sustainable Brands]