Businesses called for empty climate promises, Canadian companies among worst offenders


Canada lags significantly behind the G7 average for companies with science-backed climate goals, study finds

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According to the Science Based Targets initiative, the vast majority of companies in the world’s major economies do not make climate commitments that can be measured against meaningful criteria.

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The result of the group’s research is that despite tons of announcements from companies professing the importance of sustainability, most business leaders are not following the rhetoric. Only a fifth of the more than 4,200 companies based in the Group of 20 economies have subscribed to scientific reports, according to an SBTi report released on Tuesday.

“Setting self-defined emission reduction targets will not be enough,” Heidi Huusko, an executive at SBTi, said in a statement. “Company goals must be rooted in science.

The SBTi – a partnership of groups including the United Nations and the World Wide Fund for Nature that helps companies set emissions reduction targets – highlights empty climate pledges ahead of historic Scotland talks in a bit more than a month. The 26th United Nations Conference of the Parties on Climate Change (COP26) in November is increasingly seen as a watershed moment for humanity to agree on a plan of action to avert a climate catastrophe.

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“We are facing the very real possibility that global temperatures will soon exceed the 1.5 ° C limit that science has determined, which will cause climate catastrophe,” Huusko said. “There’s no time to lose.”

The SBTi study also found that:

  • The G7 countries, led by the UK and France, have a higher proportion of companies with science-based climate goals – 41% and 33% respectively.
  • Canada (17%), the United States (19%), Japan (19%) and Italy (19%) lag significantly behind the G7 average.
  • Indonesia, Russia and Saudi Arabia, which are among the world’s largest emitters, have no companies with approved science targets.
  • In the “G13” (non-G7 members of the G20), 1,216 companies have disclosed climate targets, of which only 6% are science-based.
  • Thirty-three percent of climate targets for EU companies (including the UK) are science-based – above the G7 average of 25 percent. However, some large EU countries, including Germany (21%) and Italy (19%), are significantly below the EU and G7 average.

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