Ireland’s largest businesses are making steady progress on meeting net zero targets for greenhouse gas emissions despite global upheaval and uncertainties.
The report “Business Working Together for a Low Carbon Future” prepared by PwC in partnership with Business in the Community Ireland (BITCI), states that progress is being achieved by companies setting Science-Based Targets as part of a drive to move to net zero. Four years ago, BITCI launched its Low Carbon Pledge, with 47 companies signed up. That number has now grown to 70.
The report states:
70% of the Pledge Signatories are well progressed to setting Science-Based Targets (SBTs) by 2024, with the majority set to achieve their SBTs by 2030 or earlier.
66% have set a public net zero target, up from 42% last year, with the biggest challenge being cost.
Just over a quarter (26%) of respondents in the Low Carbon Pledge report have set their scope 1 and 2 net zero ambitions to 2030 or earlier; just 12% have set this for scope 3 emissions.
The report, Business Working Together for a Low Carbon Future, outlines the progress being made towards decarbonisation. Leading Irish businesses continue to take a primary role in the transition to a low-carbon economy. The report was launched by Eamon Ryan, T.D., Irish Minister for Environment, Climate, Communications, and Transport.
More Irish businesses addressing climate change
Indicating more businesses are addressing climate change, 70 Irish companies have now signed the Pledge, up from 64 last year and 47 Signatories in 2019, the first year of the report. The Signatories span 11 sectors, with professional services firms, agribusiness/food & drink and financial services being the top three largest sectors represented.
Embedding Science-Based Targets (SBTs) in a company’s strategy is crucial. The Pledge requires that all Signatories commit to setting SBTs no later than 2024, and, significantly, review and assess indirect and supply chain emissions. This must include their entire carbon footprint (Scope 1, 2 & 3) and be in line with the Paris Agreement and the latest IPCC* findings. The ultimate goal of the Pledge is to achieve carbon neutrality and these targets are the first step towards a net zero world by 2050.
70% of the Pledge Signatories are well progressed to setting Science-Based Targets (SBTs) by 2024, up from 68% last year. This includes over four out of ten (41%) who have set and approved SBTs and a further 29% who have formally committed to setting these targets. It is important to note that the majority of those who have not yet set SBTs have set emission reduction targets, which is an important step towards setting SBTs. The majority of respondents are set to achieve their SBTs by 2030 or earlier.
Whilst last year’s Low Carbon Pledge report was set against the challenging backdrop of the COVID-19 pandemic, this year’s report is set against another major challenge – the war in Ukraine. The war demonstrates the impact of global geopolitical risk and shocks on national energy security and should be viewed as providing policymakers (and businesses) with further justification for accelerating investment and delivery of the renewable energy future.
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