Nearly half of the 100 biggest companies listed on Britain's FTSE Index have no net-zero target at all - Dispatch Weekly

November 8, 2021 - Reading time: 3 minutes

Britain wants to reduce greenhouse gas emissions from the economy to net-zero by 2050 while Prime Minister Boris Johnson has expressed enthusiasm for leading a green revolution to force Western economies to kick their addiction to fossil fuels.

Six in 10 of the UK’s biggest listed companies have said they will eliminate their contribution to carbon emissions by the middle of the century as negotiators meet in Glasgow to find a path to avoid catastrophic climate change.

60 of the FTSE 100 – with a combined market value of over £1 trillion – have committed to a net zero target as part of the United Nations Race to Zero campaign.

They are part of the 5,200 companies which have joined up to the UN pledge. Nearly half of these companies are British the Government said.

Speaking in Glasgow ahead of the launch of the new report, ICC Secretary General John W.H. Denton AO said:

We’ve heard much talk over recent days about the need for governments to show more ‘ambition’, but an essential corollary to this is the need for them to get smart in the design of policy instruments to accelerate climate action. “

“As our report shows, international consistency is the absolute key to unlock the full environmental and economic benefits of market-based policies. That’s why, from a real economy perspective, we need COP26 to deliver tangible outcomes to drive harmonization of existing carbon pricing instruments – starting with robust rules to enable the trading of emissions and offsets across borders under Article 6 of the Paris Agreement.” 

UK net zero business champion Andrew Griffith said: “As the world seeks bold solutions to combat climate change, we need businesses of all sizes to put the environment at the heart of their operations, making tangible climate commitments that helps chart our path to net zero emissions by 2050.

Nearly half of the 100 biggest companies listed on Britain’s FTSE Index have no net-zero target at all and just 23 have a scientifically approved plan, according to ESG investment research and asset manager Arabesque.

Daniel Klier, president of Arabesque said Britain’s top firms were performing worse on climate than comparative companies in the United States, Japan, Germany and France.

“The performance of our biggest businesses will be one of our greatest challenges to achieving net zero, but also, where one of our biggest opportunities to reduce emissions will lie,” Klier said.

“The time for commitments is now passing, however, and 2022 must be a year of action.”

DW Staff

David Lintott is the Editor-in-Chief, leading our team of talented freelance journalists. He specializes in covering culture, sport, and society. Originally from the decaying seaside town of Eastbourne, he attributes his insightful world-weariness to his roots in this unique setting.