Research into net zero trends

Our third annual study to assess whether Fortune Global 500 companies have increased their climate actions and commitments

We found that 25% of the world’s largest companies have set net zero targets, up 334% on the year before

For this research, we defined net zero as those companies that self-identified as “net zero”, “zero net”, “zero carbon” or “net zero carbon”. The number of companies with a net zero target has trebled in a year: up to 25% (127 companies) of companies from 8% (38) of companies.

Not all net zero targets are created equal

We consider 20% of net zero targets to not be fully aligned with the emerging consensus around how net zero is defined and would regard these as closer to carbon neutral targets. We consider 56% as responsible net zero targets with a target date in line with the government target for net zero where they are headquartered, or the Paris Agreement if there is no national target. We consider 24% as leadership net zero targets, accelerating ahead of the national or Paris target. Net zero targets can’t be considered as corporate climate leadership if they are the law of the land.

Companies are combining net zero with earlier carbon neutrality targets

One third (42 companies) of those 127 companies with a net zero target are either carbon neutral already or have a more immediate carbon neutrality target. Across all companies in the Fortune Global 500, carbon neutrality (59%) leads the milestones achieved to date, whereas net zero (55%) leads the milestones to be achieved beyond 2030.