Global professional services firm Accenture announced today the release of “Reaching Net Zero by 2050,” a new report exploring European corporate climate commitments, and the progress being made by the companies towards achieving net zero emissions goals.

Among the key findings of the report are a significant acceleration in companies targeting net zero by 2050, while the vast majority are not on track to meet this goal. Nearly a third of the 1,000+ largest listed European companies – responsible for over two thirds of the emissions of the 1,000+ companies – have set targets to achieve net zero by 2050 or earlier, yet only 5% are on track to hit own their targets, based on emissions reductions over the past 10 years.

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Accenture’s Chief Responsibility Officer and Sustainability Services Global Lead, Peter Lacy said:

“Though the number of newly set targets is reassuring, it is still clear that organizations are not moving fast enough. With COP26 just a few weeks away, businesses and governments across all parts of the world need to focus their efforts on concrete action that follows robust targets to meet the challenge our world faces to reach net zero by mid-century and hold global warming to 1.5°c.”

In order to reach net zero by 2050, the pace of emissions reductions by would need to double by 2030, and triple by 2040, requiring a step-change in technology, and collaboration across industries and supply chains, according to the report.

While most companies appeared to be behind schedule on reducing emissions, goal setting did appear to have a positive benefit. According to Accenture, of the companies surveyed, those with net zero targets reduced their emissions by 10% over the past decade, while others saw their emissions increase.

Jean-Marc Ollagnier, CEO of Accenture in Europe, said:

“The European business community is more engaged than ever in the race to zero, with the number of companies publicly setting goals having grown over the last two years. And as our study shows, the targets work. Net zero should be managed as any strategic business priority: set clear objectives to drive the entire organization to the same direction, and monitor progress to correct the trajectory as appropriate. Making targets public also helps create the required collective momentum, as companies can’t solve it alone.”

Click here to access the Accenture report.