While it is important that companies make long-term commitments aligned the 1.5°C ambition*, these must be complemented by near-term action plans, often referred to as climate transition plans.
According to We Mean Business Coalition, climate transition plans are forward-looking lists of actions to align near-term strategies, policy, governance and other efforts with a company’s stated climate goals. Race to Zero further specifies that climate transition plans should include actions that will be taken within the next 12 months, within 2-3 years, and by 2030.
The key difference between near-term plans and disclosures is that the former look forward whereas the latter are backward-looking. Very few companies currently have a credible near-term action plan, which makes for a good opportunity to stand out.
Carbon Disclosure Project (CDP) recommends that transition plans are:
Accountable: The plan has clearly defined roles and responsibilities and includes effective governance mechanisms, where the board and C-suite executives are accountable for delivery of the plan.
Internally coherent: The plan is integrated into the overall business strategy of the organisation and linked to the profit and loss statement.
Forward-looking: The plan is focused on the near- and long-term future, trending towards 2050. An emphasis on the near-term (the next 5-year timeframe) is critical to achieve long-term climate ambitions.
Time-bound and quantitative: The plan’s KPI’s are quantifiable and are outlined for defined timeframes.
Flexible and responsive: The plan is reviewed and updated regularly, with a defined stakeholder feedback mechanism in place (e.g. shareholders).
Complete: The plan covers the whole organisation and its value chain, i.e., any exclusions from the plan must not be material to the organisation and/or its impact on the natural environment.
To help you get started, we prepared a template of a climate transition action plan (see below)Template "Climate Transition Plan"
* Aligning with the 1.5°C ambition implies taking immediate action to halve emissions across your own business and value chain by 2030 or earlier and reaching net zero by no later than 2050, preferably much sooner. For more information, please read Publicly commit to the 1.5°C ambition
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