Independent evaluation of net zero targets vital to drive investment and match ambition with delivery


Reacting to the United Nations Secretary General’s announcement to set up an independent expert panel to review net zero targets, Nick Molho, Executive Director of the Aldersgate Group, said: “At a time when the impacts of climate change are being increasingly felt around the globe and the world economy faces high and unpredictable fossil fuel prices, there has never been a more strategic time for businesses to move to zero or net zero emissions. In the run up to COP26, an increasing number of businesses recognised the commercial and moral imperative of playing their part to tackle climate change and have taken on net zero emissions targets. This is welcome. But it is important that there is a strong baseline and level playing field in place that allows investors, businesses, consumers and the public to independently assess the credibility of different commitments and the progress that individual businesses are making to meet them.”

Nick Molho added: “Ensuring that net zero targets, and the plans to achieve them, are based on scientific, transparent and comparable criteria is not only key to building public and consumer trust, it is also essential to guide investment decisions. An increasing number of investors want to grow their stake in low-carbon technologies, infrastructure and services, and to do so, they need to have a clear and reliable picture of businesses’ climate commitments and how these compare in ambition. So, as an organisation that has always stood for robust targets and disclosure requirements from business, the Aldersgate Group fully supports the UN Secretary General António Guterres’ decision to set up an independent expert panel to provide recommendations on the most credible ways to set and report progress against net zero targets.”

Nick Molho concluded: “To be effective and ensure clarity, the work of the expert group should build on the most credible target setting frameworks that exist already, such as the Science-Based Target Initiative, as a lot of work has already gone into identifying what constitutes robust, science-based criteria. It would also be highly valuable if the Expert Group could provide independent recommendations and guidance on how businesses should develop their net zero transition plans, how they should report on their progress against their targets, and how these requirements can then best be incorporated in domestic and global legislation.”