Although the number of firms pledging to net zero is increasing, these aims are not followed by credible plans.
That’s according to a study by the Energy and Climate Intelligence Unit of the University of North Carolina, the New Climate Institute and Oxford Net Zero.
The issue is that these net zero plans are not clearly regulated or reported on, as is the case with national targets.
The researchers compared the net zero plans and commitments of certain companies to the requirements needed to be accredited on the UN’s Race to Zero – finding that just 5% of these would’ve received the accolade.
On the credibility of businesses’ net zero aims, Takeshi Kuramochi, who worked on the report, said: “Evidence of misleading or outright greenwashing climate claims provided by independent research will only increase in the future. I expect to see a lot more litigation cases in the coming years.
“If they are to commit to more robust and transparent targets, that would be better than outright greenwashing in the name of net zero.”
Committing to targets that are genuinely achievable should be the way forward, which would also prevent a misunderstanding of the true level of progress being made.
Mr Kuramochi added: “You can see cities talking about net zero, companies talking about net zero. And if you go to supermarkets, you see climate-neutral or carbon-neutral products. But then you don’t know what exactly they mean and whether they’re really contributing to this transition to global net zero emissions.”
Pledges are void without tangible plans of action, the authors stress.