Influencing the business sector

We have seen that businesses across all sectors have recognised the importance of decarbonising business models, operations and supply chains. Many leading companies have publicly declared their intention to reach net zero emissions by 2050. However, some companies are going one step further by setting targets to become carbon negative. This entails reaching absolute net zero emissions across business operations, as well as removing additional CO2 from the atmosphere (Smith, 2020).

One company that has committed itself to ambitious climate targets is IKEA. By 2030, the company aims to reduce more GHG emissions than it has emitted across its whole value chain by taking the following actions:

  • identifying ways to reduce absolute GHG emissions across its value chains by adopting circular business models, phasing out fossil fuels, improving energy efficiencies and sourcing more sustainable materials
  • boosting the natural capture and storage of carbon in land, plants or products, by supporting measures to improve forest management and agricultural practices
  • addressing emissions beyond the IKEA value chain by enabling and supporting other stakeholders to reduce their carbon footprints.

(IKEA, n.d.)

The ambitious and transparent nature of these goals has the potential to influence and inspire further decarbonisation within and beyond IKEA’s business sector. If other companies witness the success of a low carbon strategy, they are more likely to follow suit. Moreover, collaborative leadership can more easily generate transformation across entire value chains.

Microsoft is one of the founding members of the Transform to Net Zero coalition that brings together businesses from different industries with the aim to go beyond carbon goals or net zero pledges and focus on enabling deep business transformation. They intend to do so by sharing knowledge and information, collaborating closely with supply chain partners, investing in innovative solutions and engaging policymakers (Joppa, 2020). At the core of Microsoft’s commitment to driving the net zero transition is the belief that “the purpose of business is to produce profitable solutions to the problems of people and the planet” (Joppa, 2020).