Race to Zero, a major UN-backed climate action campaign announced today a revised set of criteria, strengthening the requirements for companies, financial institutions, municipalities and other organizations to meet in order to join and maintain membership.

Launched in 2020, Race to Zero is a global campaign designed to rally leadership and support from businesses, cities, regions, and investors committed to cutting global emissions in half by 2030 and achieving net zero by 2050, established under the stewardship of the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC). The campaign has grown to include more than 7,000 companies, 540 financial institutions, and 1,100 cities, among other organizations.

In order to join the campaign, members must meet a rigorous set of requirements, including pledging to reach net zero by 2050 and an interim 2030 target, explaining the actions necessary to achieve the goals, and committing to report on progress against the targets, among others.

Following a consultation with over 200 experts and civil society groups, the revised requirements raise the bar for the campaign’s members. The new criteria include an requirement to publish a transition plan within 12 months of joining the campaign, a commitment to reach net zero across all emissions scopes – including financed and portfolio emissions for financial institutions, and to align lobbying and advocacy activities with net zero by proactively supporting campaign-consistent climate policies at the subnational and national level .

The criteria also add an explicit requirement to phase out fossil fuels, including restricting the development and financing of new fossil fuel assets, and no new coal projects.

Nigel Topping and Mahmoud Mohieldin, High-level Climate Champions for COP26 & COP27, said:

“The clarity these criteria provide, together with strengthened data transparency, will help us identify the progress made and gaps remaining. They will clearly show those actors who are truly moving ahead versus those who are trying to find loopholes. We urge all Race to Zero actors to keep stepping up, or risk being removed from the Race!”

The new criteria apply immediately to new applicants to the Race to Zero campaign, with existing members required to meet the criteria within a year.