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British American Tobacco joins Race to Zero and targets net-zero emissions by 2050

British American Tobacco (BAT) is the latest company to sign up to the UN’s Race to Zero initiative, pledging to halve global emissions by 2030 and reach net-zero by no later than 2050.

Race to Zero now represents more than 4,000 businesses

Race to Zero now represents more than 4,000 businesses

BAT has this morning (15 October) confirmed that it has joined Race to Zero, the largest ever alliance of corporates committing to net-zero emissions. The campaign calls on signatories to playing a role in halving emissions by 2030

Race to Zero is the largest ever alliance committed to halving global emissions by 2030 and achieving net-zero carbon emissions by 2050. The campaign represents over 4,000 businesses estimated to cover nearly 25% of global COemissions and more than 50% of GDP.

Earlier this year, BAT updated an ambition of becoming carbon neutral across its business by 2030 to now account for its entire value chain by 2050.

Last year, the company announced plans to achieve carbon neutrality by 2030 for its business activities and eliminating unnecessary single-use plastics by 2025. At the time, the company noted that Scope 3 emissions accounted for 90% of its total carbon footprint and it was “engaging with [it’s] largest direct product materials suppliers and conducting climate change impact assessments for major tobacco leaf sourcing countries”.

The new commitment aims to also cut emissions across its value chain (Scope 3) to reach net-zero by 2050. BAT has also committed to recycling 30% of the water it uses by 2025 and to have 100% of its manufacturing sites certified by the Alliance for Water Stewardship (AWS).

 BAT’s chief marketing officer Kingsley Wheaton said: “Our purpose of building A Better Tomorrow ensures that sustainability is front and centre in all we do.  We are proud, therefore, to support the Race to Zero campaign. This is in addition to our New Categories journey – with Vuse, glo and Velo – and our ambition to have 30mn non-combustible product users and £5bn of New Category revenue by 2025.” 

In 2020, BAT delivered a 30.9% reduction in emissions from its operations and has reduced emissions by more than 37% against a 2017 baseline. Earlier this year, the company introduced the first global carbon-neutral vape brand, Vuse.

Business step up

Currently, European businesses are off course on delivering net-zero pledges. Almost one-third of Europe’s largest companies have pledged to reach net-zero emissions by 2050 at the latest, but only 5% are on course to reach these ambitions, a new study has found.

The “Reaching Net-Zero by 2050,” report from Accenture analysed climate pledges from more than 1,000 listed companies across Europe’s major stock indexes. The analysis has found that 30% of these companies have now pledged to reach net-zero by 2050 at the latest.

However, the report also finds that just 5% of analysed firms are on course to reach their net-zero ambitions across scope 1 and 2 emissions, let alone value chain emissions.

Accenture notes that the pace of decarbonisation from these corporates has delivered a 10% emissions reduction on average over the last decade. Interestingly, businesses that do not have net-zero targets saw their emissions increase.

Matt Mace

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