Net Zero Carbon Commitment

Frequently asked questions

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This FAQ section provides information about Planet Mark’s Net Zero Carbon
Commitment and provides guidance on how to move from climate commitment to climate
action. It will be updated regularly to ensure that all topics of interest are covered.

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What does it mean to pledge?

What is the Planet Mark Net Zero Carbon Commitment?
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Planet Mark Net Zero Carbon Commitment is a call to action for businesses of all sizes – no matter their sector or geography – to make an internationally recognised climate commitment which is aligned with the latest climate science. Organisations who sign up to the commitment will be adopting the framework for net zero carbon commitments set out by the United Nations Race to Zero campaign and join a wide range of governments, businesses, cities, regions, and universities around the world that are committed to achieving net zero carbon emissions.

What is included in the Planet Mark Net Zero Carbon Commitment?
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Business leaders that make the Net Zero Carbon Commitment agree to start taking action immediately toward three core aims:

• Halve our greenhouse gas emissions before 2030

• Achieve net zero emissions before 2050

• Disclose our progress on a yearly basis

These are intended to be the minimum level of commitment and action – we of course encourage your organisation to go as far as you can, as fast as you can.

Does my organisation need to be a Planet Mark Member in order to pledge? 
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We welcome non-members of the Planet Mark to pledge a net zero target through us without needing to have carbon footprint certification with us initially. As part of your commitment to measure and disclose progress on an annual basis, we will work with you to achieve Planet Mark certification or an equivalent accreditation within 12 months of you making your pledge.

Who should sign the Planet Mark Net Zero Carbon Commitment?
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Planet Mark Net Zero Carbon Commitment should be signed by an organisation’s CEO or another person who has the authority to represent the company. By sharing your company details and clicking ‘Commit’, the company will be expected to do its utmost to deliver on the Net Zero Carbon Commitment. Our Planet Mark tools and resources will help you to integrate your commitment into your business strategy, plans and actions.

What is in it for my business?
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Every organisation that makes the Planet Mark Net Zero Carbon Commitment will have its name/logo featured on the Planet Mark pledge wall website. You will also be able to download the Planet Mark Net Zero Carbon Commitment logo to include on your storefront, website, or other marketing materials.

In this way, you will be sending a message to your clients and your community that you are taking steps to do your part to address the climate emergency. Clients, investors, supply chain leaders, investors, shareholders, consumers, and employees will also know where to find you when they are looking for products or services from a climate-responsible business. This is just one business advantage but there is so much more!

What does it mean to commit to take action immediately?
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Once you have made the Planet Mark Net Zero Carbon Commitment, you should start to take action immediately. This includes the following key steps which should be addressed within three to six months after making the commitment:

• Measure and estimate your current greenhouse gas emissions

• Set short and medium-term targets for your emission reductions in line with the commitment

• Develop a plan to achieve your emission reduction targets

• Start to take concrete action to reduce your key emission sources and move toward the net zero target date you have selected

• Encourage and inspire other organisations to do the same!

What does it mean to disclose progress on a yearly basis?
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In addition to making a commitment and taking action to halve emissions before 2030 and achieve net zero emissions before 2050, the United Nations Race to Zero campaign framework is clear that your company should also communicate its progress on an annual basis, in a manner that is transparent.

To secure continued recognition for your Net Zero Carbon Commitment, within one year of your initial pledge you must have certified your organisation’s carbon footprint with Planet Mark or a similarly reputable third-party certification scheme and continue to recertify on an annual basis.

What is required to maintain recognition by Planet Mark and by the United Nations Race to Zero campaign?
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To maintain recognition your Planet Mark Net Zero Carbon Commitment recognition, you will be asked to confirm annually that you have:

1) Disclosed your progress by certifying your carbon emissions with Planet Mark, or a similarly reputable third-party carbon emissions certification scheme.

2) Provide a link to where the progress has been disclosed. You must provide your first progress report within 12 months of making the Planet Mark Net Zero Carbon Commitment.

What is the exact wording of the Net Zero Carbon Commitment?
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“Our organisation recognises the threat of the climate crisis and is committing to take immediate action, pledging to:

• Halve our absolute greenhouse gas emissions before 2030
• Achieve net zero emissions before 2050
• Disclose our progress on a yearly basis

In doing so, we are proud to align with the United Nations Race to Zero campaign and join governments, businesses, cities, regions and universities around the world that share the same mission.”

Achieving net zero emissions.

What does net zero emissions mean and why do we have to reach this state by 2050?
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In 2015, the landmark Paris Agreement was signed by 196 countries with the overarching objective of “holding the increase in the global average temperature to well below 2°C above pre industrial levels and pursuing efforts to limit the temperature increase to 1.5°C above pre industrial levels, recognising that this would significantly reduce the risks and impacts of climate change.”

In 2018, the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change – the leading scientific body for climate change – issued a major report called the IPCC Special Report on Global Warming of 1.5°C, in which over 6000 climate scientists stated that to avoid the worst effects of climate change, we must limit global warming to 1.5°C. Current estimates suggest that we have already reached global warming of approximately 1°C and if we continue on the current trajectory, we will reach global warming of 1.5°C between 2030 and 2052.

As long as we keep emissions above zero, the planet will continue to heat and that is why it is also important to reach a state where the greenhouse gases going into the atmosphere are balanced by permanent removal out of the atmosphere (net zero) as quickly as possible and by no later than 2050. This objective can only be met if everyone contributes to a global collaborative effort – and that means every business of every size, sector and geography must do its part.

What does it mean to halve our greenhouse gas emissions before 2030?
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To align with the Planet Mark Net Zero Carbon Commitment, your business will need to cut its absolute greenhouse gas emissions by at least 50% before 2030, from a base year not more than 2 years back in time.

This means that your own emissions (both Scope 1 and Scope 2 emissions), as well as those emissions related to business travel must be cut in half this decade.

Where your value chain emissions (Scope 3) are material to your total emissions and where data allows you to measure it, your company should also aim to cut Scope 3 emissions in half this decade.

What are Scope 1, 2 and 3 emissions?
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The Greenhouse Gas Protocol is the leading authority on how to measure and manage emissions. The Greenhouse Gas Protocol categorises emissions as follows:

Scope 1: All direct greenhouse gas emissions
Scope 2: All indirect greenhouse gas emissions arising from electricity, heat, or steam consumption
Scope 3: All other indirect emissions

The Greenhouse Gas Protocol further defines direct and indirect emissions as follows:

• Direct greenhouse gas emissions — emissions from sources that are owned or controlled by the business.

• Indirect greenhouse gas emissions — emissions that are due to the activities of the business, but occur at sources owned or controlled by another entity.

Please visit the Greenhouse Gas Protocol for further information in this regard.

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What does it mean to achieve net zero emissions before 2050?
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To reach net-zero emissions for your company means to enter a state in which the activities within the value-chain of your company result in no net impact on the climate from greenhouse gas emissions. Any remaining emissions which cannot be removed (residual emissions) should be counterbalanced with an appropriate amount of carbon removals which are permanent.

As a rule of thumb, such residual emissions should not exceed 10% of the base year emissions. In other words, you must take steps to reduce your emissions to as close to zero emissions as possible before 2050 (but preferably before that point) and you can off-set for up to a maximum of 10% of the total emissions that you first measured as a baseline for your journey to take climate action.

Why can companies choose a target year before 2050 for their net zero commitments?
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As the action required for decarbonisation differs between companies the Net Zero Carbon Commitment requires companies to aim for 2050 but encourages companies to take on the boldest possible commitments to climate action and select the earliest possible target date for their net zero commitments.

• By selecting 2030, you would be closely aligned with Planet Mark ZeroBy30 and B Corp Climate Collective companies that have made a commitment to reaching net zero emissions by 2030. By selecting 2040, you would be closely aligned with companies that have signed The Climate Pledge.

• By selecting 2050, you will be closely aligned with companies that have made the Business Ambition for 1.5°C pledge.

With large supply chain leaders increasingly looking to ensure that their entire value chain is working in unison toward the ambitious climate-related targets that they have set, and many now formalising climate action in their procurement policies, you will want to ensure that you have a competitive advantage and stay ahead of the curve.

What if my company is fast growing and provides solutions which helps avoid or remove emissions (“green solutions”)?
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Fast growing organisations that provide solutions which avoid or remove emissions as their core business do not have to halve their absolute emissions, but should halve their intensity (e.g., CO2e/net revenue) as a minimum and show that their growth is aligned with the 1.5°C ambition.

Do you recommend offsetting?
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Emissions that cannot presently be removed should preferably be directly counterbalanced by funding high-quality projects which remove carbon from the atmosphere, or alternatively, avoid emissions. At net zero, any remaining emissions should be counterbalanced with an appropriate amount of carbon removals which are permanent.

Funding carbon credit projects (off-setting) is a solution that you should only use as a complement to halve emissions before 2030 towards net zero and should never be a substitute for reducing emissions and creating solutions to reduce global warming. To ensure impact, it is important to carefully decide where to purchase carbon credits from. We recommend using certified, relatively new carbon credit projects, which should be aligned with the UN Sustainable Development Goals.

Where can I find more information?
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Please read the 1.5°C Business Playbook which introduces the scientific background, how to set targets aligned with the 1.5°C ambition and key actions that you can start to take today.

Join our movement for change in this crucial Decade of Action.

Find out more

Make the Net Zero Carbon Commitment