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Paper marks corporates' carbon role

By CHEN JIA | China Daily | Updated: 2021-07-28 09:09

An aerial view of a wind farm in Liuzhou, Guangxi Zhuang autonomous region. [Photo by Tan Kaixing/For China Daily]

A new study has emphasized the corporate sector can play a crucial role in meeting the carbon net zero challenge-the proposed long-term transition to low-to-zero carbon dioxide emissions regime.

Businesses need to apply new technologies and build advantages in environmental, social and governance or ESG-related investments, it said.

That, in fine, is the bottom line of a white paper published jointly by the United Nations Global Compact (UNGC) and Boston Consulting Group (BCG) in Beijing on Tuesday.

While international organizations and governments should act in close cooperation to achieve their carbon neutrality goals, companies can bridge the gap between government pledges and the "alarming reality" as global warming is accelerating, it said.

Titled Corporate Net Zero Roadmap-Delivering the Paris Agreement and the Sustainable Development Goals, the white paper indicated three key components of the corporate net zero roadmap: emissions inventory baselining; setting emissions reduction goals; and initiatives to achieve net zero carbon emissions in various industries.

Wu Xinyi, a managing director and senior partner of BCG, introduced the net zero roadmap for companies in infrastructure-related and highly emissions-intensive industries like transport, agriculture and food, industrial manufacturing, construction, digital and information, and financial services.

These industries together account for about 70 percent of total global emissions.

Decarbonization options abound in different industries, Wu said. For instance, in the transportation industry, it is important to promote clean energy vehicles. And in the agriculture and food industry, focus should be on farming, harvesting, and processing, with emissions savings coming from substituting clean energies, as well as emissions recycling and reuse.

"Setting goals for reduction in carbon emissions is also an important step in any company's carbon zero roadmap," said Wu.

The Paris Agreement set the goals of limiting global warming to well below 2 C compared to pre-industrial levels, preferably to 1.5 C. "It is up to companies to translate this broad goal into actionable reduction targets," Wu said.

Member corporates of the UNGC are taking a range of actions based on the framework of the Paris Agreement to alleviate climate issues and jointly mitigate the effects of global warming, said Liu Meng, head for Asia-Pacific with the UNGC.

Liu said standards offered by the Science Based Targets initiative, or SBTi, can be a reference for companies to determine their targets for reducing carbon emissions based on the latest climate science.

The SBTi was jointly proposed by the UNGC, the Climate Disclosure Project, the World Resources Institute and the World Wildlife Fund. It will soon be able to provide methods for the science-based long-term net zero targets, probably at the end of this year, according to the white paper.

The white paper also indicated that as of April, 33 countries and regions had enacted or proposed climate legislation, or issued relevant policy documents, accounting for 66 percent of total global emissions.

As more countries that emit high levels of carbon dioxide accelerate their legislation and policy making processes, around 75 percent of global emissions could be governed by strict regulations by 2025, the paper said.

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