Big companies keep increasing their climate commitments—especially when governments tell them to

September 21, 2022, 10:14 AM UTC
Updated September 21, 2022, 1:31 PM UTC
Smoke emissions from an industrial coal burning electric power plant.
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Good morning.

It’s climate week in New York, and aside from unrelenting traffic, that’s brought a new report this morning from Climate Impact Partners that shows big companies continue to increase their commitments to combatting climate change. Among the Fortune Global 500, 63% of companies have now set 2050 targets for emissions reductions, up 12 percentage points in the last year, and 47% have set more ambitious 2030 targets.

I found the geographical breakdown particularly interesting. Of Fortune Global 500 companies based in Europe, where many governments require net zero targets, 78% (101 out of 129) have committed to 2030 targets, up 7 points from last year. In the U.S., where there are no government requirements, 53% (66 of 125) have committed to 2030 targets, up 6 points from last year. And in China, which has committed to neutrality by 2060, only 5% of Fortune Global 500 companies (6 out of 127) have set 2030 targets. Climate Impact Partners treats 2030 goals as more serious than 2050 goals, because the later fall far beyond the likely tenure of current management.

“It’s encouraging there are still growing commitments from corporates,” Vaughan Lindsay, CEO of Climate Impact Partners, told me yesterday. “But it is still not enough…And many of those who haven’t taken action are the heavy emitters.”  

The report notes that only about a third of the Fortune Global 500 have set targets for so-called “Scope 3” emissions—those that come from their suppliers or users of their products—despite the fact that Scope 3 emissions account for about 80% of the companies’ total carbon footprint.

Separately, ServiceNow today is announcing a new tech platform to help companies measure and manage their greenhouse gas emissions. ServiceNow CEO Bill McDermott explained to me:

“The best business leaders want to be accountable. What they don’t know is how to instrument their progress. That’s why we built a platform to aggregate every conceivable metric into a single view. A great leader I know said it best: if it counts, count it. It’s time we let the outcomes do the talking.”

More news below. And be sure to spend time today with Fortune’s own new product, launched yesterday, Fortune CryptoDespite the volatility in crypto markets, we at Fortune believe, as editor-in-chief Alyson Shontell put it, that “crypto is here to stay, both as an asset class and as a technology.” Under the editorial guidance of Jeff John Roberts, Fortune Crypto aims to get the story straight—navigating between the unabashed boosterism of crypto-native sites and the unrelenting skepticism of much mainstream media coverage. On the site today, Leo Schwartz dives into how Coinbase’s billion-dollar effort at philanthropy went sour.

Alan Murray


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This edition of CEO Daily was edited by David Meyer.

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