Almost 50 leading companies, which have signed up to halve their direct carbon footprint between now and 2030, have engaged positively with the challenge and already secured significant emissions reductions of harmful greenhouse gases. This is according to PwC’s report on the Business in the Community Ireland (BITCI) Low Carbon Pledge ‘Business Working Together for a Low Carbon Ireland’ published.
BITCI encouraged 47 companies to make the Low Carbon Pledge last year to act as a starting point in which companies can measure their efforts annually at cutting their carbon footprint and collectively make a public statement on their commitment to addressing climate change.
BITCI commissioned PwC to produce the inaugural Low Carbon Pledge report which sets out a clear baseline from which to chart future progress on the decarbonisation pathway utilising information provided by the pledge companies.
Signatory companies have committed to reducing their Scope 1 and Scope 2 carbon intensity by 50% by 2030 and to report on their progress on an annual basis. The PwC report states that pledge companies are making significant progress towards achieving the target decrease in carbon intensity by 2030. The average emissions intensity reductions across the pledge companies was 36%.
Because of this initial significant intensity reductions over the baseline period to 2018, BITCI will focus on upping the scope and ambition of the 2030 greenhouse gas reduction targets. A critical challenge for companies will be sustaining such reduction efforts and focus on delivering further intensity improvements up to the 50% target and out to 2030 or an earlier date. In addition, 66% of Pledge companies reduced their electricity usage.
The report stresses that the recording and reporting of emissions data represents a critical first step in businesses’ engagement with, and commitment to, reducing their carbon impact. PwC notes that the Irish market is still quite immature in the area of sustainability assurance, but that awareness is growing. For example, 34% of companies received no form of external assurance or validation of their carbon data either in the form of 3rd party assurance, an external accreditation such as ISO, or an assurance opinion from a 3rd party assurance provider.
The pledge companies were drawn from traditionally carbon-intensive sectors such as agriculture/agribusiness and energy/utilities but also includes pharma, beverages, transport, communications, retailing, technology and professional services. The breadth of involvement across business and industry illustrates BITCI’s commitment to ensuring that there is cross-sectoral support in battling greenhouse gas emissions.