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Industry Leaders Proving Net-Zero (and beyond) is Possible

A commitment to the Race to Zero is the best move businesses can make to ensure their future growth and resilience. They can future-proof their growth, drive industry innovation and strengthen brand reputation. However, such a commitment can seem daunting to business leaders who want to minimise risk and continue to meet the needs of their stakeholders. 

The Race to Zero sets ambitious standards and calls on businesses to rise to the challenge of reducing emissions across all areas of operations. This can look different across industries and it can be difficult to know where to start, much less know how to move forward without compromising economic security.

We can demonstrate the benefits of committing to the Race to Zero by highlighting and celebrating the achievements of companies already committed to the Race and showcase successes and milestones across different industries. Two industry leading companies, Kmart and Lendlease, are setting that example and proving that net-zero, and beyond, is achievable. 

As one of Australia’s leading retail giants, Kmart has proudly entered the Race and implemented an array of strategies to reduce their emissions and attain net-zero well ahead of the 2050 deadline. Kmart has committed to achieving net-zero emissions across their owned and controlled operations by July of 2030, making them carbon neutral. Their interim target is set at achieving a 20 per cent reduction in greenhouse gas emissions, from the 2018 baseline, by July of 2025. With measures covering energy consumption, waste management and more sustainable materials, Kmart is demonstrating the achievability of reaching these targets.

Another industry leader racing towards net-zero is Lendlease. Headquartered in Sydney, the real estate and investment group has been leading the charge on climate action for some time with rigorous and exciting targets in mind for the near future. 

In April 2021, Lendlease committed to the Race to Zero via the Business Ambition for 1.5°C. They set an ambitious target of net-zero carbon by 2025 and perhaps more exciting, an absolute zero target by 2040. 

Lendlease’s climate positive action didn’t happen overnight; they have been steadily working towards reducing emissions for nearly a decade. Early emission reduction strategies included the company’s 2014 ’20 by 2020’ goal and their official support of the Task Force for Climate-Related Financial Disclosures (TCFD) recommendations. In 2019, Lendlease also became the first property and investment company to become a full member of ResponsibleSteel, a group that collaborates with suppliers and manufacturers to reduce emissions across steal supply chains. While still part of the Race to Zero, Lendlease launched Mission Zero in May of 2021 to raise awareness about their industry leading carbon-reduction targets.

So, what are the actions these two industry leaders are taking to meet their targets? By showcasing their strategies and successes, similar businesses can gain confidence in the efficacy of net-zero commitments and spring into action themselves. 

Kmart

As a retail giant selling an array of products, many of which consume natural resources in many steps of production, Kmart has acknowledged their responsibility to use natural resources with as little environmental impact as possible.  That’s why they have begun an exciting journey towards net-zero by 2030, with an interim target of a 20 per cent reduction by July 2025.

Kmart’s strategies cover a range of operations and are categorised into materials, waste, packaging and energy and climate.  These areas of operation cover the first two out of three Scopes as outlined by the Greenhouse Gas Protocol, which comprise of fuels burned and power consumed. 

To meet their interim and long-term targets, Kmart have taken action across many areas of operation including building monitoring systems to constantly monitor energy usage across their store network, improve efficiency and performance of air-conditioning and lighting systems by installing time LED lighting, installing solar where possible, working with landlords to access roof space and shared solar systems and purchasing renewable energy. 

Already, these steps have had a measurable impact. In the 2020 financial year, Kmart achieved a 6.9 per cent reduction in total emissions from FY2018. Kmart also reached a significant milestone in July 2020,  meeting their 100 per cent sustainably sourced cotton commitment. All cotton sourced for Kmart own-brand clothing, bedding and towels has been ordered as Better Cotton, which is organic and recycled.

This financial year, Kmart has focused on developing what they’re calling a ‘Scope 3 playbook’. The Greenhouse Gas Protocol’s Scope 3 specifically addresses a company’s indirect activities such as the emissions produced as a result of partnerships with supply chains and manufacturers. This playbook will carry Kmart through to 2030, managing greenhouse gas emissions in their supply chains and a cross functional Climate Action Working Group was established as one of the first steps to address scope 3. This will build engagements with team members and support climate related initiatives. Kmart have also expanded its Scope 3 inventory reporting to include all material categories of emissions, creating a solid baseline from which to move forward. 

These are exciting steps in Kmart’s race to net zero emissions and celebrating their milestones is also a powerful way to prove how other retailers and business can follow suit and join the race. 

 Lendlease 

Under Mission Zero, Lendlease have set out a thorough action plan in order to meet their interim and long-term targets. Mission Zero have also modelled their actions and responses to carbon reduction within the Greenhouse Gas Protocol’s three Scopes, covering fuels burned, power consumed and indirect activities.  

Lendlease’s interim target of net-zero by 2025 involves the reduction of GHGs from business activities as far as possible with the remainder to be offset via an approved carbon offset scheme. This target specifically applies to scope 1 and 2 of the company’s operations including the fuels burned – such as petrol, diesel and gas, which is used to power fleet vehicles, cranes, generators, hot water systems and boilers – as well as the electricity generated to power their sites or bought for use in the places they operate.

Going further, Lendlease’s long term target of absolute zero by 2040 covers all three scopes and pivots its efforts in to what the company calls upstream and downstream emissions. This reinforces Lendlease’s comprehensive approach to carbon reduction by addressing emissions produced by manufacturing building materials right through to tenant energy consumption. 

To meet their ultimate target of absolute zero by 2040, Lendlease have devised a five-step plan that demonstrates their tenacity. Firstly, the company began this year by creating a decarbonisation investment strategy followed by phasing out all diesel and gas in their operations. Thirdly, Lendlease plan to be using 100 per cent renewable electricity by 2030. Collaboration is important to Lendlease and the fourth and fifth steps include collaborating with supply chain partners as well as tenants and residents to achieve absolute zero by 2040. 

With a reach that stretches well beyond Australia, Lendlease’s Climate positive actions are exciting to see but there have been plenty of achievements to celebrate here in Australia. In April of this year, Lendlease’s Funds Management’s Australian office portfolio was officially certified as carbon neutral and the group also supported a recent study on the positive impacts that green roofs have on enhancing solar panels. 

These are just two industry leaders pursuing exciting and rigorous action towards  achieving net-zero. Their impact is great, and still growing. And they’re not alone in their endeavours. By looking closely at their strategies and actions, other businesses across multiple industries can assuage their doubts and gain insight into the benefits of joining the Race to Zero.

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For Businesses

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Innovative leaders and their businesses are uniquely positioned to accelerate the Race to Zero and can have a measurable impact on communities striving for a climate-resilient future.

Together with a climate-positive impact on communities, businesses can future-proof their growth, manage risk, build resilience against regulation, drive industry innovation, and strengthen brand reputation.

And like all meaningful progress, it starts with a commitment.

Businesses are invited to sign and commit via one of the Race to Zero’s partner initiatives.

  • Business Ambition for 1.5 Degrees – choose this initiative if your organisation wants to set a net-zero target in line with a 1.5°C future.
  • SME Climate Hub – choose this initiative if your organisation has 500 or less employees
  • The Climate Pledge – choose this initiative if your organisation wants to reach net zero carbon by 2040, reaching the goals of the Paris Agreement 10 years early.

Once committed, businesses have 12 months to plan strategies and actions that will achieve their interim and long-term targets of net-zero emissions by 2050. With shared resources and communications material at their disposal, businesses will spring into action and make public an annual progress report to showcase their ongoing efforts and commitment to a sustainable climate-resilient future.

If your business is ready to commit to the Race to Zero in Australia at the head-of-organisation level, you’re in the right place!

Welcome to The Starting Line.

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For Financial Institutions

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The most sustainable investment financial institutions can make is an investment in a zero-carbon economy for themselves and their stakeholders. Together with Race to Zero in Australia, financial institutions can build sustainable net-zero investment portfolios and secure returns on investments, but most importantly, on a climate-positive future.

Financial institutions are invited to sign up and commit via one of the Race to Zero’s partners and in doing so, they will also join the Glasgow Finance Alliance for Net Zero.

Once committed, financial institutions have 12 months to plan strategies and actions that will achieve their interim and long-term targets of net-zero emissions by 2050. With shared resources and communications material at their disposal, financial institutions will spring into action and make public an annual progress report to showcase their ongoing efforts and commitment to a sustainable climate-resilient future.

If you’re a financial institution is ready to commit to the Race to Zero in Australia at the head-of-organisation level, you’re in the right place!

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For Local Councils

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Local Councils can accelerate the Race to Zero and have an immediate, real-world impact on the shift towards zero-carbon economies. From urban planning and waste management to policymaking and collaboration with community partners, local councils have the power to act on carbon-reduction strategies and create thriving and sustainable environments for their communities.

Cities and local councils are invited to sign up to Race to Zero via the Cities Race to Zero initiative, whilst states and regions are welcomed to join via the Under2 Coalition. Once committed, local councils have 12 months to plan strategies and actions that will achieve their interim and long-term targets of net-zero emissions by 2050. With shared resources and communications material at their disposal, local councils will spring into action and make public an annual progress report to showcase their ongoing efforts and commitment to a sustainable climate-resilient future.

If you’re a local council ready to commit to the Race to Zero in Australia at the head-of-organisation level, you’re in the right place!

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For Universities & Colleges

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As the seat of climate change research, universities and colleges not only provide the road map for the future ahead, they can be leaders in the race towards net-zero emissions. Their research is the bedrock of the Race To Zero’s momentum and we are asking educational institutions to commit to the Race. To be a force for change as well as a source of knowledge.

Universities and colleges are invited to join Race to Zero via the Race to Zero for Universities and Colleges. Once committed, education institutions have 12 months to plan strategies and actions that will achieve their interim and long-term targets of net-zero emissions by 2050. With shared resources and communications material at their disposal, local councils will spring into action and make public an annual progress report to showcase their ongoing efforts and commitment to a sustainable climate-resilient future.

If you’re a university or college ready to commit to the Race to Zero in Australia at the head-of-organisation level, you’re in the right place!

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