Climate Action 100+ issues its first-ever net zero company benchmark of the world’s largest corporate emitters

22 March 2021
  • Benchmark defines key indicators of success for business alignment with a net zero emissions future and goals of the Paris Agreement
  • Detailed assessments show companies are increasingly making ambitious climate commitments, but now need to deliver
  • Benchmark sets clear engagement priorities for $54 trillion investor-led initiative to drive faster corporate climate action

Climate Action 100+, the world’s largest investor engagement initiative on climate change, has released its first-ever benchmark evaluating the corporate ambition and action of the world’s largest greenhouse gas emitters and other companies with significant opportunity to drive the net zero transition. The Climate Action 100+ Net-Zero Company Benchmark offers the first detailed, comparative assessments of individual focus company performance against the initiative’s three high-level commitment goals: reducing greenhouse gas emissions, improving governance, and strengthening climate-related financial disclosures.

The Benchmark defines key indicators of success for business alignment with a net zero emissions future and the goal of the Paris Agreement to limit global temperature rise to 1.5-degrees Celsius. While there is growing global momentum around companies making ambitious climate commitments, the Benchmark assessments show that companies still have a long way to go in delivering on these promises. No focus company assessed performed at a high-level across all of the nine key indicators and metrics that were used to evaluate each company. Further, the assessments show that no company has fully disclosed how it will achieve its goals to become a net zero enterprise by 2050 or sooner. This includes establishing short and medium-related targets to deliver ambitious emissions reductions within the next decade.

While some companies in a range of sectors are ahead of their peers in making progress towards some of the disclosure and decarbonisation strategy indicators, all companies have more work ahead. Specifically, the company assessments reveal that:

  • Alignment of value chain GHG (Scope 3) emissions often remains a blind spot. 
    • Overall, 83 of the focus companies (52 % of the total) assessed have announced an ambition to achieve net-zero by 2050 or sooner. However, roughly half of these commitments (44) do not cover the full scope of the companies’ most material emissions.
  • Long-term ambitions need to be backed by clearer strategies and robust short- and medium-term targets.
    • There is a critically important need for corporates to establish more robust short- and medium-term targets to achieve their ambitions;
    • While 107 companies have set medium-term targets (2026-2035), only 21 meet all assessment criteria; 75 companies have set short-term targets (up to 2025), but only eight meet all assessment criteria.
  • Future investments need to be more clearly aligned with the net zero transition. 
    • Only six companies explicitly commit to aligning their future capital expenditures with their long-term emissions reduction target(s), and none of these companies has committed to aligning future capital expenditure with the goal of limiting temperature rise to 1.5 degrees Celsius.
  • Corporate boards and executive management teams need to improve climate change governance. 
    • 139 focus companies assessed (87%) have board-level oversight of climate change, but only a third of companies tie executive remuneration directly to the company’s emission reduction targets.
  • Ambitious 1.5-degree pathways are often missing from climate scenario planning. 
    • Almost three quarters (72% of the total) of companies assessed commit to align their disclosures with the Task Force for Climate-related Financial Disclosures (TCFD) recommendations and/or support the recommendations. However, only 10% use climate-scenario planning that includes the 1.5-degrees Celsius scenario and encompasses the entire company.

Read media release here

Read the company assessments

Learn more about the benchmark