The Race To Zero campaign was launched by the UN on June 5th 2021 to build momentum around the shift to a decarbonised economy ahead of COP26. The aim is to get the ‘real economy’ actors including businesses, cities, regions, and investors to join 120 countries in the Climate Ambition Alliance, to create the largest ever alliance committed to achieving net zero carbon emissions by 2050 at the latest.
To mark the two year anniversary and encourage businesses to sign up, Schneider Electric shares their story.
Why did you sign up to Race To Zero?
Schneider Electric signed up to the campaign when it was first launched. Our CEO wanted to show our global commitment and contribution to a more sustainable world.
Race To Zero formalises our net zero goals and aligns to a common standard. Aligning to science-based targets ensures our credibility as a leader in sustainability with verified targets. The Race To Zero shows a collective commitment from business to net zero and allows us to work with likeminded companies and help encourage other companies on their decarbonisation journey.
What changes are you making as a result of establishing your net zero target aligning with Race To Zero? Are you seeing any results as yet?
Since signing up to the campaign, we’ve commited to net zero CO2 emissions across our operations by 2030 and across our value chain by 2050. We are now progressing towards these targets.
As of 2021 we have 51 zero-CO2 sites, this is more than a third of the way to our target of 150 by 2025.
We have also worked to increase green material content in our products and made progress towards ensuring packaging is free from single use plastic.
We are also working towards our own net zero targets that we have pledged through Science-Based Targets initiative (SBTi) and report on our progress as this is a critical part of ensuring credibility.
We understand that we are part of other companies’ Race To Zero targets, therefore we are ensuring we work with our suppliers and customers towards their goals.
What are the biggest challenges you are experiencing in meeting your net zero commitments?
Like for many other businesses, scope 3 continues to be our largest challenge. Collecting data across our supply chain is demanding.
Another challenge is decarbonising our office spaces, there is a difference between owning a site and renting one. We can decarbonise the sites we own by implementing solutions to reduce energy usage and therefore emissions. However, at our lease sites, it has been difficult working with landlords to implement energy efficiency measures.
How are you working with your supply chain to deliver your R2Z goals?
Through our Zero Carbon Project where we are working with our top 1000 supplier globally to halve their emissions by 2025. These suppliers represent 70% of Schneiders suppliers’ emissions, supporting their decarbonisation will be a significant move forward in our transition to net zero. The initiative is part of Schneider’s 2021-2025 sustainability goals and is a concrete step towards limiting the rise in average global temperatures to 1.5°C or less by 2100, as targeted by the Paris Agreement.
How are you communicating decarbonisation goals within your business to bring employees on the journey?
Both globaly and localy, in UK and Ireland, we train our employees on our sustainability strategy and how we are working towards our goals. We want to ensure that our employees can talk confidently abound sustainability as well as Schneider’s goals and contribution towards the road to net zero.
Beyond our mandatory training, we have also launched a Sustainability School with further education on deeper aspects of sustainability and decarbonisation.
In UK and Ireland, we have set up a Carbon Fund for employees to submit sustainability ideas to. The best ideas get funded and implemented. This is an engaging way to include all employees in the journey. We also have a ‘sustainability moment’ of the month to keep employees up to date and encourage them to be advocates for a sustainable world.
What has signing up to Race to Zero enabled you to do that you couldn’t do previously?
Signing up to Race To Zero and committing to SBTi has given our net zero goals credibility and helped to position us as a leader in sustainability.
The campaign also keeps Schneider accountable to our goals and ensures we are making annual progress towards the larger common goal.
Additionally, thanks to the campaign, we have become part of a network of likeminded companies working towards a common goal. As part of that, we support companies who need help starting their decarbonisation journey.
What one piece of advice would you give to a company looking to sign up to Race to Zero?
Be ambitious with your goals, we are working towards a crucial moment in history. This is not the time to be cautious, it’s the time to change.