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22nd September 2015

Net-Zero Goal Is Needed for the World—and Is Good for Business

New York,September 22, 2015: Today, Leaders of The B Team, running some of the world’s largest companies, called on governments and businesses alike to aim for net-zero greenhouse-gas emissions by 2050 or before, building upon their February 2015 call to world leaders.

A ‘Net-Zero by 2050’ aspiration being adopted by leading companies demonstrates the importance of bold long-term targets, and reinforces what the Leaders of The B Team are asking for from world leaders in the political process at COP21 in Paris.

The ‘Net-Zero by 2050’ global goal is grounded on an assessment of the latest scientific research, business risks and the economic costs of failing to keep within the 2°C threshold.

Several global companies associated with The B Team are leading the way by announcing their aspiration to achieve ‘Net-Zero by 2050’ including, Chinese construction company Broad Group, African telecommunications group Econet, Brazil cosmetics manufacturer Natura, the consumer goods company, Unilever and international investment group Virgin.

The B Team companies Econet, Kering, Natura and Unilever, have also shown their support for net-zero through specific climate commitments as part of the We Mean Business campaign for climate action. These specific commitments represent some of the most important practical steps to get to ‘Net-Zero by 2050’ and over 179 companies have already made over 333 commitments as part of the campaign.

“Decisive action on climate change is a moral and business imperative. Momentum is now building for a new direction; a new model of development that delivers a sharp reduction in emissions and a concerted effort to eliminate poverty in all its forms. The climate summit in Paris will be the first test of our ability to implement the ambitious Sustainable Development Goal framework that will be adopted in New York this week. An ambitious long term goal – Net- Zero emissions by 2050 – would send a signal that the world is serious about delivering climate security and global development for all.” said Paul Polman (CEO of Unilever, Chair of WBCSD and B Team Leader).

Richard Branson, Virgin Group Founder added: “We now have the opportunity to make a positive difference for business, people and the planet. Taking bold climate action now has the potential to unleash the full power of business and lift millions of people out of poverty. We’re the first generation to recognize this and the last generation that will have this opportunity. It’s time for all of us to join forces and drive the transition to a thriving net-zero GHG emissions economy by 2050.”

The adoption of the Global Goals later this week in addition to the agreement targeted to be signed at COP21 later this year, highlight that 2015 is a critical year of opportunity for government and business to develop frameworks and specific long-term targets to address a number of the world’s most pressing challenges, and ensure we transition to a thriving and just net-zero world.

A global commitment to net-zero greenhouse-gas emissions by 2050 from governments would provide a strong signal to businesses and investors to help them plan for and deliver a low carbon future. The B Team Leaders are now urging other business leaders to join the growing movement to create a low carbon economy through actively adapting their business strategies in-line with this objective and setting clear targets and commitments.

Further Background and Information

Why ‘Net-Zero by 2050’

The B Team Leaders have joined many others in realizing that ‘Net-Zero by 2050’ is an ambitious but both realistic and necessary goal. 196 countries have agreed with scientists that we must contain global warming under 2 degrees Celsius. If we reach the point of balance (where our CO2 emissions have fallen to where they balance the world’s ability to absorb that CO2 – hence “net-zero”) much later than 2050 then the chances of failure soon rise to over 1 in 31. “That’s not a gamble we would take in our businesses or our personal lives – why are we
risking the planet?,” said Richard Branson, Co-Founder of The B Team and Founder of Virgin Group.

About The B Team

The B Team is a not-for-profit initiative formed by a global group of business leaders to catalyze a better way of doing business for the wellbeing of people and the planet.

The team includes Sir Richard Branson, Kathy Calvin, Dr. Gro Harlem Brundtland, Arianna Huffington, Dr. Mo Ibrahim, Guilherme Leal, Strive Masiyiwa, Blake Mycoskie, Dr. Ngozi Okonjo- Iweala, François-Henri Pinault, Paul Polman, Mary Robinson, Ratan Tata, Zhang Yue, Professor Muhammad Yunus, Jochen Zeitz.

Visit and follow us @thebteamhq.