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In the build-up to COP26, the UN Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC) Race to Zero campaign (racetozero.unfccc.int) is gaining real traction and mobilising commitments. Unlike other races, it can be joined at any stage. How is it going?

Race To Zero is a global campaign to rally climate leadership and support from businesses, cities, regions, investors and universities. It mobilises a coalition of leading net-zero initiatives, already making up more than 12% of the global economy. These ‘real economy’ actors join 120 countries in the largest ever alliance committed to achieving net-zero carbon emissions by 2050.

There are a number of options for joining. A company can join one of the Partner Initiatives (listed below). Large organisations using science-based targets may sign up to Business Ambition for 1.5˚C (bit.ly/3sCZFFf), and smaller ones the SME Climate Hub (smeclimatehub.org). All the Partners require that their members fulfil Race to Zero meta-criteria (bit.ly/3bQCPTS).

  • Pledge: Pledge at the head-of-organisation level to reach (net-)zero by mid-century at the latest, in line with global efforts to limit warming to 1.5°C.
  • Plan: Explain what steps will be taken toward achieving net zero, especially in the short-to-medium-term. Set an interim target to achieve in the next decade, which reflects a fair share of the 50% global reduction in CO2 by 2030 identified in the IPCC Special Report on Global Warming of 1.5°C.
  • Proceed: Take immediate action toward achieving net zero, consistent with delivering interim targets.
  • Publish: Commit to report progress at least annually, including via platforms that feed into the UNFCCC Global Climate Action Portal.

The Race can be joined through:

  • Businesses: Business Ambition for 1.5°C, B Corporation, Business Declares, The Climate Pledge, SME Climate Hub, Exponential Roadmap Initiative, and Pledge to Net Zero.
  • Chambers of Commerce: International Chamber of Commerce‘s Chambers Climate Coalition.
  • Cities: Cities Race to Zero, ICLEI’s Carbon Neutrality Framework.
  • Sectoral initiatives: Health Care Without Harm, Fashion Industry Charter for Climate Action, Water UK, and International Wineries for Climate Action.
  • Investors: UN-convened Net-Zero Asset Owner Alliance, Net Zero Asset Managers Initiative (pending approval).
  • Regions/States: Under2Coalition.
  • Country-wide: Japan Climate Initiative’s Race to Zero Circle.
  • Universities: Global Universities and Colleges for the Climate, Second Nature.

Pledge To Net Zero (bit.ly/2OaI5JI), an initiative tackling greenhouse gas emissions within the UK environmental services sector, has formally joined the main UNFCCC Race to Zero campaign. Around 80% of UK environmental consulting market is already part of Pledge To Net Zero, launched in late 2019 to convene fast climate action in the UK’s environmental sector.

Image credit: iStock