Road Between Thick Evergreen Trees

The Race Towards Net Zero

A global survey by Newsweek Vantage found that 3/4 of major companies - including Trane Technologies - are aiming for net-zero greenhouse gas emissions.

A global survey by Newsweek Vantage found that three quarters of major companies – including Trane Technologies - are aiming for net zero greenhouse gas emissions to help avoid climate change and prevent catastrophic global warming by 2050 or earlier.

Net zero by 2050 means that greenhouse gas emissions must start to decline as soon as possible. By 2030, emissions should be around half of today’s levels, and at net zero or neutrality by 2050. This means that any greenhouse gases being released should be able to be absorbed by natural “sinks,” like forests and oceans, as well as by technical carbon capture and storage (CCS).

“Companies are rising to the challenge, but there is much work to do,” said Scott Tew, founder and leader of the Center for Energy Efficiency & Sustainability at Trane Technologies (CEES). He and Rasha Hasaneen, vice president of innovation and product excellence & Executive Director of the Center for Healthy & Efficient Spaces (CHES) at Trane Technologies, contributed to the Newsweek Vantage study.

Trane Technologies has set a target to reduce our product-based emissions by one gigaton of CO2e by 2030 - an amount roughly equivalent to the annual emissions of Italy, France and the United Kingdom combined. As part of our strategy, we’ve measured the impact of our entire product range. This is an important step, as Rasha explains. “There can be a trade-off between, for example, reducing refrigerants in a product and improving its energy performance,” she said.

The report, "Towards Net Zero: How Business is Rising to the Challenge," discusses how companies are preparing for the transition—the actions being taken, the key elements of strategy—and what else needs to happen to enable business and society at large to move towards net zero. Newsweek Vantage, with sponsorship from Trane Technologies and other sponsors, researched and wrote the report.

*This article was originally published October 01, 2019 and updated March 8, 2021.

The Net Zero Toolkit

Make it the mission
Companies that have been able to link it directly to their mission are finding new opportunities at the nexus of customer and climate needs, while also avoiding conflicts with other commercial goals.
Lead the change
If your leadership isn't climate-competent, not only will it fail to capture the benefits of the net zero transition, but as a company, you will be less attuned to the risks and more exposed to climate liability.
Measure and disclose
Use externally-verified tools to find out where your emissions derive, as far as possible across operations, product lifecycles and value chains. The more you measure, the more reduction possibilities you stand to uncover.
Set the goal
Targets anchor ambition. Having a net zero goal is key to avoid delaying hard choices, but if your deadline is years away, be sure to set an interim target designed to bring reductions aligned with climate science.
Create incentives
Linking targets and bonuses to meeting climate goals is a must for staying on track. To really shift behavior, consider an internal carbon price-something two-thirds of companies aiming for net zero have in place or in planning.
Engage the value chain
Businesses often have a lot more influence than they realize. And not just with suppliers. Ambitious companies are finding ways to impact other stakeholders, helping raise awareness while reducing emissions in their value chain.
Develop (good) partnerships
Ambitious companies say coalitions are vital to making progress; NGOs bring expertise, and cross-industry groups can help co-finance solutions, like clean power. Influence or exit any groups whose positions do not align with a net zero world.