A Playbook for Action: Setting Science-based Corporate Climate Goals
September 06, 2022
How setting science-based targets and calculating product emissions has been key to Trane Technologies’ climate action.
3 min read
In May 2022, Trane Technologies unveiled our latest environmental, social and governance report, outlining how we had set, met and succeeded several sustainability targets.
At the heart of the report is the idea of taking bold leadership to help solve the climate crisis and inspiring others to make equally ambitious commitments.
As a climate innovator that manufactures heating and cooling technologies, we have a duty to align our operations and product solutions with global climate goals, and we’re taking that further by directly aligning our strategy to our sustainability commitments.
In our report, titled “Transform Tomorrow, Today,” we put forward examples that demonstrate how sustainability is a driver of performance, rather than an obligation. This approach has allowed us to reduce operational emissions by 25%, water usage in water-stressed regions by 18% and customer carbon emissions by 50 million metric tons and achieve zero waste to landfill at 54% of our manufacturing sites.*
Sustainability has long been at the core of our strategy; nearly ten years ago we led the industry transition to low-global warming potential refrigerants. We established our first set of science-based climate commitments and exceeded them two years early in 2018. Since then, our ambitions and actions have grown, with significant progress toward our bold 2030 Sustainability Commitments.
Our actions to achieve these goals continues to be twofold: Set science-based targets that inform product and operational plans, and rigorously assess and reduce product emissions.
Trane Technologies recently took a step further with its long-term commitment to achieving science-based targets when our climate goal—namely to reach net-zero greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions across our entire value chain by 2050 from a 2019 baseline—was validated by the Science Based Targets initiative (SBTi), a coalition of the Carbon Disclosure Project, the United Nations Global Compact, the World Resources Institute and the World Wide Fund for Nature. This includes a 90% reduction in GHG emissions across our global operations (Scope 1 and 2) and a 97% reduction in emissions per cooling ton from use of the company’s products (Scope 3), as well as neutralizing emissions that are not eliminated.
This made Trane Technologies the first in our industry—and one of only 11 companies in the world—to have achieved that level of confirmation at the time of the announcement.
We recognize that getting to 2050 means real action must start now. That’s why we have a plan for the midterm, 2030, by which time we will reduce our customers’ carbon footprint by one billion metric tons. It’s our Gigaton Challenge, and it’s the largest science-based climate commitment related to product emissions reduction within a single decade of any company globally.
We’re going to eliminate one gigaton of carbon emissions by 2030 through our second strategic step: leveraging the power of data to understand new ways to calculate and reduce product emissions, with some of the most rigorous standards for how to measure impact.
Trane Technologies calculates the total emissions generated by every product sold, using an equation based on the sum of its annual electricity (including local grid factors), fuel and refrigerant emissions multiplied by the product’s expected lifetime. The emissions of every product in a year will then be compared to those generated by products sold in the project’s baseline year, 2019, and the difference allows us to have new insights on impact and progress.
Because the planet needs our industry to innovate for urgent change, we made the decision to set 2019 as our baseline year, instead of including our achievements from the previous five or 10 years. Our ambition is to make a significant impact as quickly as possible.
Importantly, the reduction is externally assured and contributes to the company’s Scope 3 science-based target and, ultimately, the 2030 near-term goal.
I’d like to share an example of the type of emissions reduction work we do with customers every day. Earlier this year, our Trane business completed a major project with the State of New Mexico. It is the first-of-its-kind State Buildings Green Energy Project (SBGEP) in New Mexico, a decarbonization-focused initiative to modernize more than 30 aging government buildings in Santa Fe.
The buildings, all over 50 years old, received a sustainability makeover. In addition to new high-efficiency HVAC systems and rooftop solar panels, nearly all buildings are now outfitted with LED lighting, water conservation measures and advanced controls to monitor and maximize energy efficiency. The project will help the state reach its 2050 net-zero carbon emissions goal, saving local taxpayers $1.1 million dollars, eliminating 7,400 metric tons of carbon emissions and conserving 5.1 million gallons of water annually.
This is a journey we are firmly committed to, and we’re using science and strategy to ensure we reach our goals. In our most recent report, we shared that the company exceeded or met its annual targets for nearly all our 2030 Sustainability Commitments, demonstrating tangible progress on our glidepath toward significant reductions in carbon emissions, energy use, waste and water. And we did it while increasing representation of women in leadership and transforming the diversity of our workforce to reflect our communities.
Aligning our company strategy with our bold commitments has set us on a relentless pursuit of innovation with a community of people focused on real action. At Trane Technologies we see a path to a more sustainable business, industry and world.
*Since 2019 baseline.
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