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To Net Zero And Beyond: How Companies Are Leading On Climate Action

Alex Watson | 17 December 2018 |

The following article was first published by Corporate Citizenship Briefing and sets out our research, based on a series of discussions involving some of the world’s largest companies, that sets out seven ways that companies can contribute to building a net zero economy.

The following is the introduction for an article first published by Corporate Citizenship Briefing.

In a new piece of research, based on a series of discussions involving some of the world’s largest companies, Natural Capital Partners sets out seven ways that companies can contribute to building a net zero economy.

In October 2018 the leading climate scientists in the United Nations’ Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) called for “rapid, far-reaching and unprecedented” changes and for net zero emissions by 2050 as part of its report detailing the implications of 1.5oC of warming. For many businesses, climate inaction does not stem from wilful choice, but from inertia by the apparent scale of the problem. Corporate boards often don’t know where to begin. Over the course of five months we held seven roundtables to bring together 61 senior sustainability and business leaders from companies with combined revenues of $1.3 trillion – including HSBC, Mars, Unilever and Volkswagen – to explore routes to net zero. Out of these conversations came the ‘Imprinting Net Zero’ model, which is made up of seven imprints; ways that businesses can drive net zero to scale, both within the confines of their own operations and across the broader economic system.


The first three imprints are familiar focal points for businesses on the start of their net zero journeys, representing opportunities for immediate action. Through these three some businesses are, in and of themselves, net zero today. But net zero is not an end-point. Instead it is a necessary stepping stone that opens up a sea of opportunities for businesses. The next four imprints — brain-print, finger-print, blue-print and news-print — focus on how companies can deepen their climate impact by contributing to the build of a net zero economy and deepen business benefits by entering new markets and gaining staff and customer loyalty.

Many companies are jostling for a leadership position in the future net zero economy. Companies that don’t want to be left behind think about the opportunities ahead in terms of these imprints. This will ensure they are not overwhelmed, are able to take action now and show immediate results, and then evolve their work to raise ambition and impact.

Read the full article on the Corporate Citizenship website.

Read the full report from our Talanoa Dialogues.

Register for our forthcoming webinar on this topic.