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Over 1,000 companies set net-zero targets, but only 4% meet UN standards

Data from Net Zero Tracker shows that over 1000 large companies have set net-zero targets, however, only 4% of these commitments meet best-in-class standards set by the UN.

Furthermore, just 37% of targets fully cover Scope 3 emissions, while a scant 13% specify “quality conditions” under which carbon offsets would be used to meet their goals — suggesting most companies depend on low-quality offsets rather than emissions reductions to meet their climate goals.

Net Zero Tracker has assessed the emissions targets of 1,003 companies belonging to the Forbes Global 2000 list of the world’s largest firms. It found that only a few adhere to the UN’s Race to Zero “Starting Line criteria”, which require targets to cover all greenhouse gases produced by a company — meaning Scope 1, 2, and 3 emissions.

The criteria also requests that companies set clear conditions for the use of carbon offsets, implement a climate transition plan, and make immediate emission reduction efforts, among other things.

Net Zero Tracker project head John Lang said, “A clear line in the sand on net zero has surfaced. Countless net zero targets are credibility light, but now we can say for certain that most of the world’s largest companies have shifted to the right side of the line on net zero intent.”

Almost all UK companies in the Forbes Global 2000 have net-zero goals, with 72 out of 77 setting targets, according to the group. Only one UK-based company in the list — private equity firm 3i — has yet to establish a climate mitigation target.



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