WORKING WITH BUSINESSES TO DRIVE TRANSITION TO NET-ZERO ECONOMY

Solutions to the climate crisis are available and economically viable, and businesses of all sizes are taking steps to meet the Paris Agreement target of limiting global warming to 1.5°C.

© Jason Houston

WWF works with businesses to help them on their journey, from cutting their emissions in line with climate science, to supporting those with innovative technologies, and securing renewable energy to power their business operations.

Global efforts to tackle the climate crisis are way off track. More is needed from all parts of society - including businesses - to limit global warming to 1.5°C (the threshold for the most devastating impacts of climate change).

WWF recognises that business and industry have a key role to play in reducing global greenhouse gas emissions, as well as implementing climate-smart technologies and innovations. They must be part of the collaborative, global effort to tackle climate change and meet the goals of the Paris Agreement.

There is a compelling business case to take immediate action on climate change.

  • Reducing energy use and emissions can cut operating costs and drive efficiency.

  • Companies demonstrating leadership on climate can improve their reputation and position with customers, suppliers, investors, and regulators, as well as reduce their exposure to climate risks.

  • Taking ambitious climate action can help businesses stay ahead of future policy changes and climate regulations.

  • Companies can foster innovation in their organisations and attract engaged, talented staff who want to work for a business with strong values.

WWF is working to increase the adoption of more efficient systems in energy-intensive areas such as heating and cooling, manufacturing and food production.

FACT SHEETS

Taking climate action makes good business sense

WWF Climate Business Network

The WWF Climate Business Network is a global corporate partnership network that aims to accelerate action on climate change towards a 1.5°C, net-zero future. The Network provides companies with an opportunity to engage with other business leaders and WWF experts to gain the knowledge and guidance needed to take credible, ambitious climate action.

WWF Science Based Targets  

WWF-NZ partners with businesses to drive their emissions towards net zero though Science Based Nature Targets and Science Based Target Initiative (SBTi).

WWF is a founding partner of the Science Based Targets initiative (SBTi), a coalition established in 2015 which aims to enable companies to set emission reduction targets in line with leading climate science. 

The Science Based Targets initiative is a partnership between CDP, the UN Global Compact, the World Resources Institute (WRI) and WWF that aims to increase corporate ambition for climate action. The initiative assists companies to set scientifically sound targets that are consistent with the level of decarbonisation required to meet the goals of the Paris Agreement.

As part of the SBTi, WWF works to engage and support companies, validate emission reduction targets against the latest science, develop technical knowledge and communicate the benefits of setting a science-based target.

We work with companies through our network of national offices around the world. Businesses can find out more by contacting their local WWF office or get involved by committing to set a target through the SBTi.

SBTi tools and resources

As a business climate leader, what does good look like?  

  • has set science based targets to keep emissions to 1.5 degrees of warming. Included in their materiality assessment Scope 1, 2 & 3 emissions. Rather than setting net zero energy targets for 2050 the business has aimed to reduce emissions to zero this decade. 

  • ensure that their business supply chain measures all embodied carbon within its assessments and drives all emissions towards zero this decade.

  • has adopted a circular economy through repurposing, redesigning, reusing, and incorporating only adaptive reuse principles for all elements of the supply chain.

  • has talked to their stakeholders and can demonstrate real climate action, rather than purchasing carbon credits.

  • doesn't invest, support or bank with companies that fund the fossil fuel industry.

  • has adopted a māori world view towards biodiversity and resource usage.

  • supports businesses that encourage diversity and fairtrade.

  • encompass the UN SDG goals.

  • undertakes GRI reporting

  • donates a % of its profits to eNGOs and/or partners with eNGOs.

© Best in Auckland

What should businesses be doing?

© WWF New Zealand

Undertake a materiality survey of staff and customers
Understand your "user" and their understanding of the climate crisis - develop a suite of offerings that deliver significant emission reductions this decade.

Look to reduce consumption of your goods and services
Consder the footprint of your goods and services - reduce raw material usage/ gauge customer support for raising the base unit price set science based targets to keep emissions to 1.5 degrees of warming. Include in the materiality assessment Scope 1, 2 & 3 emissions. Rather than setting net zero energy targets for 2050. Look to reduce emissions to zero this decade. 

KPMG have a useful materiality assessments guide here.

  • Worked out the key ecological issues for your business to focus on

  • Quantify your footprint, wherever possible, and set targets to reduce them


Different kinds of target work for different environmental issues. Try the Business for Nature coalition for a list of different commitments you can explore.

It’s very likely the climate crisis will be a material issue for your business. The gold standard for business climate targets is set by the Science Based Targets Initiative, a partnership between WWF, WRI, CDP, and the UN Global Compact in partnership with We Mean Business. Setting a Science Based Target allows you to prove your business is doing its bit to cut emissions in line with the Paris Agreement goal of keeping warming to 1.5C.

Ensure that your business supply chain measures all embodied carbon within its assessments and drive all emissions towards zero this decade

The ban on plastic bags is great – but here’s the thing: consumers never see most of the plastic packaging. That’s why working across your business’s value chain is critical. There’s little point focusing all your action on lowering your business’s direct environmental impact if it’s only a tiny sliver of the actual impact of the products or services you sell.

The good news is you have the power to influence your supply chain. By changing what products, you buy and setting ecological standards, you can help transform other businesses, too. 

Looks to only adopt a circular economy through repurposing, redesigning, reusing, and incorporating only adaptive reuse principles for all elements of the supply chain

Only borrow or invest in financial institutions that do not fund or invest in the fossil fuel industry
eg. KiwiBank and Cooperative banks

Embrace reverse mentoring where younger generations support and mentor the older generations in climate action

Develop a youth board to drive innovation 
e.g., Heartland bank has done this

Ensure a workplace travel plan is in place
Provide public transport incentives for staff; remove executive car parking and replace it with carpooling parking.

Reduce your office footprint 

Lobby government to comply with the Paris Agreement obligations for COP26 to update the Nationally Determined Contribution to 69% emissions reduction target

Use networks and coalitions to help your business transform your relationship with nature
Tell your sustainability story. We’d encourage you to join the Sustainable Business Network and Sustainable Business Council, or even become the first New Zealand business to join Business for Nature.

Participate in Earth Hour
Starting as a symbolic lights-out event in Sydney in 2007, Earth Hour has become a large global grassroots event. Businesses, organisations, governments, and hundreds of millions of people from over 180 countries and territories take part, to speak up for a sustainable future. Together their voices for a sustainable future are making a difference.

Taking part is a great opportunity to begin the conversation with your customers and stakeholders about protecting people and nature, your leadership inspiring commitment from others.