4 Steps Businesses Can Take to Advance a Net Zero by 2030 Commitment and Act Against the Climate Crisis
May 27, 2021
B Corps Share How They Are Reducing Carbon Emissions and Pursuing Climate Justice
In recent years the global climate crisis has grown beyond the realm of concerned environmental advocates, becoming a point of emphasis for business leaders, investors, policymakers, and others who realize the current and impending dangers to the planet, its people, and other living creatures.
Among those business leaders actively working for climate solutions are nearly 900 Certified B Corporations that have committed to achieving net zero emissions by 2030, a historic goal in terms of the number of companies and the accelerated trajectory of their commitment. As shared on the B Corp Climate Collective website, companies making this commitment are expected to make a public pledge. That pledge includes making a climate emergency declaration, creating a plan with short- and long-term steps, proceeding with the work to pursue these targets, and publishing progress at least annually. The latest version of the commitment, updated in February 2021, includes a pledge to reduce emissions wherever possible and use verified offsets, emphasizing carbon removal projects, to balance emissions that cannot be eliminated.
To demonstrate how companies are pursuing these goals, B The Change breaks down the four expectations for net zero 2030 participating companies — pledge, plan, proceed, and publish — and provides real-world examples from four B Corps that are part of the B Corp Climate Collective and the net zero by 2030 commitment. The four expectations were created by the Oxford University Net Zero Climate initiative in collaboration with the UN Framework Convention on Climate Change’s (UNFCCC) Race To Zero and others.
B Corp Climate Collective Resources
Learn more about the four expectations and access a free, downloadable library of tools and resources compiled by the B Corp Climate Collective to aid your company’s net zero journey.
Each of the B Corps highlighted in this article operate or have suppliers in picturesque locations that illustrate the planet’s beauty as well as its fragility. These locations are also spots where the climate crisis presents a threat to members of the local communities — especially those with lower incomes who are more vulnerable.
B Corp Legacy Vacation Resorts (LVR) has facilities on the beaches of the Gulf Coast, the mountains of Colorado, the wetlands of Central Florida and other areas vulnerable to climate change and, in some, where the effects already can be seen.
“It helps us and our guests realize that climate change isn’t simply a future issue, but one we are already experiencing right in our own backyard,” says Jared Meyers, Chairman and CEO of LVR. “Some of the communities in which our properties are found are experiencing economic loss as a result.”
While LVR has an interest in the economic effects of the climate crisis, the B Corp also acts for the benefit of its communities, workers, employees, and customers — pursuing a profit while also protecting the planet and its people.
“Taking action on climate change is a human imperative and necessary to protect all forms of life,” Meyers says. “Our urgency is driven by wanting to be good citizens, good people, and knowing that if collective global action is not taken, everyone will lose and everyone will suffer. And, unfortunately, those least responsible for the climate crisis will suffer most.”
By combining climate action with climate justice, LVR and other B Corps are acting for more than the planet — they are putting people and equity at the center of their advocacy for the Earth. Below they share how they are incorporating climate justice into their commitment to net zero by 2030.
PLEDGE: Publicly commit to Net Zero by 2030 through a communication from the highest level executive in the company (e.g., on the company website, blog site and/or sustainability report, as well as through the B Corp Climate Collective website). This pledge should include additional information about carbon emissions and use of offsets.
Over the past few years, LVR has actively pushed for climate action and declared a climate emergency with the B Tourism network of companies and Tourism Declares, a broader coalition of tourism businesses, organizations, and individuals.
LVR has prioritized tracking carbon emissions and calculating its carbon footprint to best offset company operations and guest activities with We Are Neutral, an offsetting partner. The company’s ultimate goal is achieving carbon neutrality and becoming fully dependent on renewable energy across all eight of its resorts — a milestone that its New Jersey location already has achieved. LVR also has a social purpose road map covering recycling, waste management, water/energy reduction, and other programs.
“Through our 2025 Positive Impact Targets we hope to use our dedication to a higher social purpose to inspire growth and positive change in our communities, whether that be through inclusive hiring practices, paying a living wage, or advocating for a better future for our employees,” says Meyers.
Because of its commitment to climate science and a desire to help lead the way in the transition to a zero carbon economy, LVR has set aggressive targets with the Science Based Targets initiative (SBTi) to stabilize the climate at no more than a 1.5ºC temperature rise and avoid the irreversible effects of climate change. In April, LVR’s targets were officially accepted, making the B Corp one of only four U.S. travel companies to have set their targets with SBTi and the only one to have also committed to Business Ambition for 1.5°C, a campaign from a global coalition of UN agencies and business leaders mobilizing companies to set net-zero science-based targets. Through this campaign, LVR has committed to reducing Scope 1 and Scope 2 greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions 50% by 2030 and to measure and reduce Scope 3 emissions.
“We are constantly seeking ways to share this passion with other business leaders and publicize the measures we take to inspire other businesses to follow suit,” Meyers says. “At LVR we also use this as an opportunity to educate guests on the importance of supporting companies that are taking climate action.”
The Climate Justice Playbook for Business
This practical guide from B Lab features information to help business leaders understand the intersection of climate action and social justice and advance a justice-centered approach to climate action.
PLAN: Outline and share with relevant stakeholders the steps you will take in the short and medium term to meet this commitment, including incremental targets and actions to meet the 2030 timeline.
As a company founded to value people and planet as much as profit and a quality product, Numi Tea has stakeholders at the core of its operations. It also pursues climate action and positive impact through industry and business collaborations, including the B Corp community, Climate Collaborative, OSC Packaging Collaborative, and Fair Trade certification for its supply chain.
Numi Tea Co-Founders Ahmed Rahim and Reem Hassani recently discussed the collaborations and how the B Corp has incorporated social justice into its climate work during a conversation with the Climate Collaborative.
[ Watch the Climate Collaborative Video Featuring Numi Tea Leaders ]
“When you find common denominators within companies and are doing something … for the greater good of our planet, people will roll up their sleeves. They’re going to collaborate,” he says. “OSC is just one reflection of that. Building that trust and sense of belonging to something bigger than ourselves and our organization.”
Last year’s rising social justice movement also prompted the Numi Tea to focus on how it could improve diversity and inclusion in the natural foods industry and raise awareness of the connections between climate change and social justice. “Climate discussions aren’t just about the environment but are about how people live and how people are included on this planet,” Rahim says.
Numi finds it effective to pursue change from the top down as well as the bottom up, he says, by advocating for policy change and offering products that meet the growing consumer demand for sustainability.
More people are expecting companies to operate with the planet’s future in mind, Hassani says.
“Consumers are wanting [to see climate action] more. They are looking at packaging, they are reading up on companies, and looking for companies that have a sense of purpose,” she says. “Sustainability isn’t an absolute — it’s a process. It comes up as an underlying value that you want to put out into the world. You’re always trying to get a little better than before, looking for new solutions.”
PROCEED: Take immediate and regular action toward your targets.
As a creator of “feel good food” featuring yogurt and vegetables (as well as delicious pastries), Yoghurt Barn recently earned both its B Corp Certification as well as certification from Clipop for climate-positive business practices. Yoghurt Barn Founder and CEO Wouter Staal says Clipop provided the Netherlands-based B Corp with relevant tools and critical questions to inspire the company to go further, especially on measuring its Scope 3 emissions and transparently communicating its climate accomplishments and goals.
“We started operating climate positively on the 50th Earth Day last year, and wanted to get that verified by a third party as we wanted to go as far as possible and make the most impact where we could when it came to CO2 reductions while compensating what was left,” he says “That’s where Clipop came in with their rigorous standards and like-minded entrepreneurs to have a positive impact now.”
Staal says Yoghurt Barn, which is preparing to publish an updated climate impact report, decided to set a goal beyond climate neutral because the company’s team believes it should and can do more to address the climate crisis.
“We feel that if we run our business and grow it, we have to take responsibility and be accountable for our future generations to come,” he says. “We have to cool down the planet and not stop its warming. That’s why focusing on reduction is key, but compensating more than we still emit is essential.”
PUBLISH: Self-report progress against your plan and targets at least annually on the company’s website, blog site, and/or sustainability report.
Montanya Distillers sees its climate communications — blog posts, e-newsletters, social media, and more — as an opportunity to show how businesses can succeed by focusing on more than profit. Its environmental sustainability webpage includes the company’s 2020 Impact Report and examples of its climate action and environmental partnerships, while its blog includes a series of posts highlighting its B Corp values in action.
“It helps redefine our collective understanding of what responsible business can look like, and the type of leadership we can expect from businesses,” says Karen Hoskin, founder/owner of Montanya Distillers in Crested Butte, Colorado. “If our communications happen to help someone better understand broad and weighty topics like the climate crisis, that is an added bonus. Since our passion and expertise is making rum, not healing political divides, we focus our energy on connecting to and inspiring people who already understand the complexities and are looking for ways to make their choices count.”
In a transparent blog post updating its zero-waste goal, Montanya explained why it has extended that timeline and shared achievements, setbacks, and challenges that other companies can learn from. The B Corp’s victories include new partnerships with Power Knot, which supplied a biodigester to help divert bio-waste from the landfill; rePurpose Global, which connects plastic users with on-the-ground programs to achieve a net zero plastic footprint; Arcadia for wind power and terrapass for carbon offsetting of distilling, business travel, outgoing freight, and inbound shipping; and Owens-Illinois (O-I) for Cradle to Cradle certified glass for bottling.
While Montanya is proud to highlight its climate accomplishments, it realizes that plenty of work remains, and it continues to pursue new practices and adjustments to reduce its footprint and enhance its positive impact on the planet.
“This summer we’re also working with a paid intern through the Impact MBA program at Colorado State University to help us evolve our methods for tracking and managing our environmental impact,” Hoskin says. “She’ll look at our waste management and overall efficiencies and will help us identify areas for improvement.”
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