A Blueprint for Companies Disclosing Their Climate Plans

And how not to do it

Editor’s Note:  The Instigator is co-authored this week by Mark Tercek and Peter Ebsen

Some good news in the net zero stocktake report 2022: some one-third (702) companies from the Forbes Global 2000 have pledged to achieve net zero targets (up from one-fifth as of 12/20). That’s pretty encouraging. 

But . . . as anyone who’s committed to getting a project done “next quarter” can attest, it’s one thing to make a commitment into the future and another thing to stick with it. Can we really count on these companies to follow through?  For example, the same report notes that only half of the pledging companies have any kind of interim greenhouse gas reduction target. 

We’ve written here before about how difficult it will likely be for most companies to achieve net zero. It’s very expensive — who will bear those costs? And we know that in a very busy, always-on market environment,  it’s not usually the number one priority. 

And the report strongly agrees with us: we likely need stronger regulations and other public policies to make net zero happen. Asking business to do it all voluntarily likely can’t work. 

But of course time is not on our side. We can’t just wait for better public policy.  Given that governments are unlikely to put forth the mandates we need any time soon (despite the improved policy outlook due to recent wins), how else can we improve corporate decarbonization?

About a year and a half ago, we offered a roadmap for companies to get to net-zero, so that stakeholders can evaluate and monitor progress and, more importantly, determine what kind of policy or campaigning will be necessary for success. Well it turns out that one company is basically following all of our recommendations. 

Whether they are avid readers of The Instigator or not, we can’t say for certain. But we are very happy to see Apple taking the lead not only in its actions toward becoming net-zero but also in disclosing them.