At least 965 companies and 63 countries have publicly committed to net-zero targets. Turning those plans into reality will be an unprecedented undertaking—and will generate huge profits for the consulting firms that have the know-how to make it happen.
There’s no official standard for rating the credibility of corporate net-zero goals, and since most of these have a deadline decades away, it’s impossible to accurately assess how likely they are to be achieved. But voluntary guidelines are coalescing around the gold standard for corporate climate action, particularly under the auspices of the Science-Based Targets Initiative (SBTI), a project of the World Resources Institute and others. SBTI published a new set of net-zero principles on Oct. 28, one of the most important of which is that any net-zero standard may not use offsets for more than 10% of residual emissions from supply chains and customers, and 5% of operational emissions. SBTI also announced the first cohort of companies to have a net-zero target validated under these principles, which includes AstraZeneca, CVS Health, Dentsu International, Holcim, JLL, Ørsted, and Wipro.