A group of more than 300 financial institutions and multinational firms representing $37 trillion in assets and spending power have launched a campaign with research provider and environmental disclosure platform CDP, requesting some of the world’s highest emitting companies set climate targets aligned with the global ambition to limit global temperature increase to 1.5°C.

The campaign is backed by many of the world’s largest financial institutions including Allianz Global Investors, AXA Group, Crédit Agricole and UBS, as well as by 45 multinational companies with over $710 billion in annual procurement spending, such as PepsiCo, Astra Zeneca, and Schneider Electric.

Laurent Babikian, Joint Global Director Capital Markets at CDP, said:

“The past few months of extreme weather have again shown us what a warming world does at 1.2 degrees. It will get catastrophically worse unless we see an unprecedented reduction in GHG emissions – 50% in the next eight years – to allow us to cap the rise at 1.5 degrees. But this is simply unachievable unless the highest impact companies have ambitious targets for reducing all of their value chain emissions.”

As part of the campaign, CDP sent letters to over 1,000 companies, selected through criteria including emissions and market cap, requesting that they set emissions reduction targets approved through the Science Based Targets initiative (SBTi), one of the key organizations focused on aligning corporate environmental sustainability action with the global goals of addressing and limiting climate change.

Founded in 2015, SBTi was formed as a collaboration between CDP, World Resources Institute (WRI), the World Wide Fund for Nature (WWF), and the United Nations Global Compact (UNGC), with the goal to establish science-based environmental target setting as a standard corporate practice. Last year, SBTi launched a Net Zero Standard, which it will use to assess and certify corporate commitments to achieve net zero emissions.

According to SBTi, companies with targets approved by the organization typically cut emissions by 8.8% per year – well above the pace needed for a 1.5°C path.

The companies targeted by the campaign account for over 7 gigatons of Scope 1 and 2 emissions, and have a combined market value of over $25 trillion. Roughly half of the companies are based in the Asia Pacific region, and 23% in the U.S.

CDP carried out a similar campaign last year, and noted that the new campaign has increased year-over-year by over 30%, both in terms of the number of supporting organizations and their collective assets and purchasing power.

Dr. Luiz Fernando do Amaral, CEO of the Science Based Targets initiative, said:

“Time is running out. But while we still have a window of opportunity to prevent the worst effects of climate breakdown, there is some cause for optimism. Companies representing more than $38trn of the global economy already have validated science-based targets or commitments to set one. What’s more, according to our theory of change, we have reached the tipping point of high-impact companies worldwide. Those left must now take heed and urgently increase their climate ambitions.”

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