From carbon capture to blockchain; Climate Action 100+ to Science Based Targets and the Green New Deal, the March issue of Ethical Corporation magazine assesses how the corporate world is responding to the challenge of radical decarbonisation

The message from the IPCC last year could not have been more clear: we must slash carbon emissions by 45% by 2030 and completely decarbonise by 2050 or risk climate catastrophe as world temperatures rise above the critical threshold of 1.5C.

The latest assessment from the world’s leading climate scientists made the 2015 Paris Agreement to limit temperature rises to 2C seem woefully inadequate for the task, even if governments follow through on their promises. It’s clear that business is going to be required to do much of the heavy lifting, in collaboration with governments and NGOs, if we are to stave off this existential threat.

In this month’s magazine we look at the extent to which the corporate world is stepping up to its responsibilities in a 1.5C world. We start in hope, by looking at the Green New Deal movement in the US. Michael Levitin reports on how the Trump climate narrative is under threat as the clean energy revolution in cities and states makes inroads in Washington.

With carbon capture and storage seen as the only technology capable of decarbonising industrial processes such as steel-making and cement, Angeli Mehta looks at the UK’s Acorn project and assesses progress on scaling up the technology around the world. She also reports on the Drax power plant in North Yorkshire, which claims to be the world’s first to go “carbon-negative” by capturing CO2 generated by burning biomass.

Mike Scott, meanwhile, takes a long look at blockchain, and assesses whether the technology can overcome concerns about energy use and live up to its much-vaunted potential to accelerate climate action.

From technology we turn to corporates, as Martin Wright investigates how the most ambitious signatories to the Science Based Targets initiative are turning sustainability from the art of the possible to a corporate route-map to a 1.5C world.

He also looks at the catalytic role being played by investors, explaining why the Climate Action 100+ group of investors are working to push the world’s biggest greenhouse gas emitters to address climate risk.

We also report on CDP’s first-ever ranking of fast-moving consumer goods companies on their preparedness for a low-carbon world, with Unilever, Danone, L’Oréal and Nestlé coming out on top, and Kraft Heinz and Estée Lauder at the bottom of the table.

Expert comment rounds off the issue, with Richard Tarboton and Annabell James from Carbon Credentials arguing that companies will only achieve ambitious action on climate change if they can tap into a growing desire by employees to do their bit.

And CDP’s Alberto Carrillo Pineda explains how the over 500 companies that have committed to the Science Based Targets initiative are already reaping business benefits, including bottom-line savings, innovation, strengthened brand reputation, improved investor confidence and resilience against regulation.

Although most companies have set their SBTs in line with a 2[Symbol]C warming pathway, he says this spring the SBTi will release new technical resources to enable companies to set targets in line with a more ambitious 1.5[Symbol]C pathway.

I hope this month’s issue will give readers some guidance and inspiration to lift their own ambition.

Blockchain  carbon capture  science-based targets  SBTi  CDP  Carbon Credentials  Green New Deal 

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