Global F&B conglomerates urge for net-zero COVID-19 recovery
155 companies, including major global food and beverage corporations, have signed a statement as part of the Science Based Targets initiative, urging governments to align COVID-19 recovery plans with the latest climate science.
Carlsberg Group, Coca-Cola European Partners, Mars, Nestlé, Tate & Lyle, The Co-op, Nomad Foods and Unilever are among 155 companies — with a combined market capitalisation of over US$2.4 trillion and representing over five million employees — who have signed a statement urging governments around the world to align their COVID-19 economic aid and recovery efforts with the latest climate science.
As debates on recovery packages around the world are predicted to increase in the coming weeks, the companies, which are all part of the Science Based Targets initiative (SBTi), have called for policies that will build resilience against future shocks by supporting efforts to hold global temperature rise to within 1.5°C above pre-industrial levels, in line with reaching net-zero emissions well before 2050.
The statement comes as governments around the world are preparing stimulus packages to help economies recover from the impacts of the coronavirus pandemic, as well as preparing to submit enhanced national climate plans under the Paris Agreement.
The 155 companies have already set, or committed to set, science-based emissions reduction targets. By signing the statement, they have reaffirmed that their own decisions and actions remain grounded in science, while calling on governments to “prioritise a faster and fairer transition from a grey to a green economy.”
“Saving lives and livelihoods, and building a prosperous, inclusive and sustainable future, are at the heart of our efforts to recover from COVID-19,” said UN Secretary-General António Guterres. “We can beat the virus, address climate change and create new jobs through actions that move us from the grey to green economy. Many companies are showing us that it is indeed possible and profitable, to adopt sustainable, emission-reducing plans even during difficult times like this. I warmly welcome the ambitious, science-based actions we are seeing from leading companies who are demonstrating to policy-makers that green growth remains the best growth strategy.”
The business voices are convened by the SBTi and its Business Ambition for 1.5°C campaign partners, the UN Global Compact and the We Mean Business coalition. The SBTi, which is a collaboration between CDP, the UN Global Compact, World Resources Institute and WWF, independently assesses and validates corporate climate targets against the latest climate science.
“Governments have a critical role to play by aligning policies and recovery plans with the latest climate science, but they cannot drive a systemic socio-economic transformation alone. To address the interconnected crises we face, we must work together as an international community to deliver on the Sustainable Development Goals and the Paris Agreement,” said Lila Karbassi, Chief of Programmes at the UN Global Compact, and Science Based Targets initiative Board Member. “As the largest ever UN-backed CEO-led climate advocacy effort, these companies are leading the way in driving ambitious science-based action and advocacy to help reduce vulnerability to future shocks and disasters.”