Business is driving climate progress

We can be that example – we have to inspire people.”

Carlos Manuel Rodriguez, Minister of Environment and Energy of Costa Rica

Welcome to the February edition of the We Mean Business coalition newsletter. This month has seen significant progress towards the zero-carbon economies of the future, with key developments across power, transport and buildings.

At the national level, Costa Rica launched its plan to become one of the first nations in the world to completely decarbonize, German environment minister Svenja Schulze made a strong call for targeting net carbon neutrality by 2050, the French government proposed legislation committing the country to net-neutrality by 2050, Spain’s government presented a draft proposal on its emission reduction plans and South Africa’s parliament approved its long-delayed carbon tax bill.

In the power system, data from Eurostat showed that eleven EU states have already met their 2020 renewable energy targets. In the US, more coal and gas plants are being shelved in favour of renewables. And Ingka Group (IKEA) advanced towards its 100% renewable electricity commitment, by securing 25% of Germany’s second-biggest offshore wind farm.

In transport, the world’s largest shipping company Maersk committed to set a science-based target, as part of its bold net-zero 2050 vision. The exponential rise of electric vehicles was in evidence in China – Chinese plug-in electric vehicle (PEV) sales jumped 175% in February year-on-year to grab a share of 4.8% in the world’s biggest auto market.

The Climate Group has secured the electrification of more than 2 million vehicles by 2030, a new EV100 report shows. Volkswagen says its new electric car will be carbon neutral through its entire lifecycle if recharged with renewable energy. And a forum for buyers and suppliers to collaborate on air freight emissions reduction has been launched by BSR – the Sustainable Air Freight Alliance.

In the buildings system, two major Japanese construction and engineering companies committed to set science-based targets – Daito Trust Construction and Taisei Corporation – with a collective revenue of close to $30 billion. Daito Trust also committed to switch to 100% renewable electricity, via RE100, led by The Climate Group, in partnership with CDP.

German consumer products business Henkel AG & Co. is also among the companies committing to set science-based targets, and Japanese technology company Konica Minolta joined RE100.

The number of companies committed to bold climate action rose to over 860, with nearly 1,400 commitments across the coalition’s Take Action campaign.

Also this month, the Science Based Targets initiative announced it is introducing new technical resources to enable companies to set emissions reduction targets in line with the Paris Agreement’s highest level of ambition – keeping the global temperature rise to 1.5°C.