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7 Ways Your Company Can Participate in the Race to Zero

7 Ways Your Company Can Participate in the Race to Zero

Your business can join more than 5,000 other companies in the Race to Zero, a campaign to limit the global temperature rise to 1.5 degrees Celsius.

As global greenhouse gas emissions continue to rise, individuals and organizations can take action. And as a human and business leader, you can take meaningful steps toward a brighter, more sustainable future. Not sure where to start? Enter: The Race to Zero, a powerful campaign on a mission to achieve net zero greenhouse gas emissions by 2050.

Whether or not you officially pledge to join the Race to Zero, you can get involved, initiate lasting positive change, and make your company — and planet Earth — a more sustainable place. Keep reading to learn more about the Race to Zero campaign plus discover actionable tips to reduce your company’s carbon footprint.

What Is the Race to Zero Campaign?

The Race to Zero is a global campaign led by the United Nations with a goal to achieve a decarbonized economy and limit global temperature rise to 1.5 degrees Celsius (as outlined in the Paris Agreement). More specifically, the mission of the campaign is to team up with cities, universities, businesses, and other entities to reach net zero carbon emissions by 2050 all while preventing future threats, creating jobs, and unlocking inclusive, sustainable growth. The Race to Zero also sets out to show national governments that local communities, investors, and businesses share the same goal of reaching a more sustainable, inclusive, and resilient economy.

Currently, the Race to Zero coalition includes:

  • 1,049 cities

  • 67 regions

  • 5,235 businesses

  • 441 investors

  • 1,039 higher education institutions

Why Are Companies Prioritizing the Race to Zero?

More than one-third of the world’s largest publicly traded companies have set net-zero targets, meaning they plan to balance the greenhouse gas emissions emitted into the atmosphere with those removed by 2050 in order to ensure a more sustainable future. But as more businesses commit to joining the Race to Zero, the nearly two-thirds of companies who haven’t yet made meaningful sustainability pledges stand out (and not in the most favourable way) to consumers, stakeholders, and more.

In fact, according to a 2021 Salesforce survey, more than three-quarters (77 per cent) of respondents believe businesses are not doing enough to address the world’s challenges, including climate change. And 69 per cent of respondents said all companies should take responsibility and leverage technology to track and reduce emissions.

In other words, while the Race to Zero campaign has seen a great deal of positive momentum, organizations worldwide have plenty of room for improvement. Case in point: Between 2015 and 2020, companies with validated science-based targets to combat climate change cut carbon emissions by 25 per cent, while global energy and industrial emissions increased by 3.4 percent during that period.

How to Join the Race to Zero

No matter what size company you lead, you can take important steps — including the ones below — toward environmental responsibility and a more sustainable future. From smaller, more immediate successes to larger strategic shifts, every little bit counts.

Track your emissions. While tracking your carbon emissions won’t have a major impact on your company’s sustainability efforts on its own, keeping tabs on your output — and tracking your progress as you make important changes — is one of the first steps toward carbon neutrality. Your company may choose to invest in a platform that gives you access to detailed emissions dashboards, analyze sustainability data, and find the fastest path to net zero with helpful analyses and targets all in one scalable platform.

Make more sustainable sourcing choices.

When we talk about sustainable sourcing, the conversation includes everything from product packaging to the infrastructure of your corporate headquarters. You can start small by cutting out unnecessary materials, such as excess packaging. Then, whenever possible, choose renewable or recyclable materials in your office and for your products, packaging, equipment, and infrastructure. Lower-emissions resources start with materials like compostable packaging made from natural fiber sources and work their way up to larger-scale sustainable innovations such as recycled aluminum and green steel.

Beyond choosing more sustainable materials, go a step further and encourage team members and customers to donate, reuse, or recycle items when they’re done using them.

Cut down on travel.

Business trips serve as one of the largest sources of corporate carbon emissions. So what makes them so unsustainable? For starters, business travel by car and plane has ramped back up, even after a global pandemic that shut down and then slowed travel for quite some time. To add to that, many workers fly business class, an option that has a significantly larger carbon footprint than flying in an economy seat for long-haul flights, according to a data-backed analysis from World Bank in 2013. With the advent of more advanced digital meeting platforms, you may choose to reassess your travel program and be more thoughtful about planning in-person face time with coworkers, investors, customers, and others.

On a different note, if your company does not offer remote work options, you may want to reconsider. In a 2021 study examining the effect of remote work on the greenhouse gas emissions of commuting, researchers found working from home reduced commuting emissions by 43 per cent in 2019 and 97 per cent in 2020. Alternatively — or in tandem with a flexible remote work policy — you can incentivize more sustainable commute options, such as public transportation (including bikes and scooters), ridesharing, and carpooling.

Contribute to reforestation projects.

When it comes to sustainability, the focus often revolves around ways to reduce our negative impact. While those efforts are undeniably vital, you can drive change by giving back, too. Contributing to reforestation projects can be as simple as conserving and planting new trees on your company’s campus or in your local community. You may also choose to team up with an organization like, which strives to conserve, restore, and grow 1 trillion trees worldwide by 2030.

Invest in renewable energy.

Business leaders across the globe are making the shift from fossil fuels to green fuels. While non-renewable energy sources, such as coal, natural gas, and petroleum, will eventually run out, renewable energy sources can be continually replenished. Sources of renewable energy include:

  • Wind

  • Solar

  • Hydropower

  • Geothermal

  • Biofuels

To make the transition to renewable energy, your first step will likely involve an energy audit. You’ll want to track your energy use across your entire supply chain, decipher the cost of your current energy use, calculate your carbon footprint (and that of the companies you rely on to do business), and note any opportunities for energy efficiency. Then look into government funding, grants, and incentives that can help drive down the startup and total costs of gradually shifting to renewable energy sources. For instance, businesses have access to helpful tax incentives for investments in certain clean energy generation and energy conservation equipment, including solar heating equipment, wind energy conversion systems, and electric vehicle charging stations.

Vet your vendors, partners, and suppliers.

It’s one thing to make sustainability strides internally, and it’s another to partner with like-minded companies who have their own net-zero targets. Take the time to seek out transparent vendors who report their emissions and/or efforts to reduce their organization’s environmental impact. By being more intentional about your partnerships, you’ll join the ranks of other companies that prioritize the same level of environmental commitment.

Make it official.

If you’re ready to make the pledge to achieve net zero, you’ll need to match the Race to Zero campaign’s minimum criteria, known as the 4 Ps:

  • Pledge: Pledge to reach net zero as soon as possible and by 2050 at the latest.

  • Plan: Within the first year of joining, explain what actions you’ll take to achieve your pledges.

  • Proceed: Take immediate action toward achieving net zero, consistent with the targets you specified in your plan.

  • Publish: Commit to publicly report progress toward interim and long-term targets (as well as actions you’ve taken to get there) at least once a year.

Businesses can contact SME Climate Hub, Business Ambition for 1.5 C – Our Only Future, Business Declares, The Climate Pledge, Exponential Roadmap Initiative, and Planet Mark to learn more about Race to Zero partnership.


Achieving net zero takes commitment and time. Look at your business and consider your key sustainability priorities, which could be emissions reduction, carbon removal, trillion trees and ecosystem restoration, education and mobilization, innovation, and/or regulation and policy.

Remember that when it comes to sustainability, small efforts lead to big change. By pledging your commitment to better the planet, you can help reduce risk, strengthen your brand, and improve your company’s value over time.

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