Download the report here.
The Climate Collaborative’s Tracking Progress Update assesses how companies are progressing on the climate action commitments they have made through the Climate Collaborative. This annual report summarizes the results of our Tracking Progress Survey conducted in summer 2021. Our hope is that the information gathered and shared will help inform the work of the Collaborative and our broader community as we work together to find and activate solutions to the climate crisis.
The Tracking Progress Survey also provides an opportunity to gain insight into broader industry trends specific to climate engagement. For the past two years, we have included questions focused on the impacts of the COVID-19 pandemic.
66% OF COMPANIES INDICATED COVID-19 HAS NOT AFFECTED THEIR SUSTAINABILITY PROGRAMMING OR HAS REDOUBLED THEIR EFFORTS
Given the unusual circumstances of this year and added stress that COVID-19 has put on small businesses, we asked respondents to share how their companies have adapted. It was heartening to see that sixty-six percent of companies indicated that COVID-19 has not affected their sustainability programming or has redoubled their efforts. This is not to say there has not been a significant impact, 44% of respondents indicated that COVID-19 has delayed some projects and many noted the challenges with hiring and resourcing current and emergent work. A number of companies noted that while COVID-19 has not shifted their engagement in climate efforts, they are having to navigate greater supply chain complexities and interruptions which can pull resources from their climate work.
New to the survey this year, we asked companies if they have set a net-zero target. 40% of respondents said they are considering setting a net-zero target, with 25% of respondents already having set a target. Of the companies that said they have set a target, 64% have set a Net Zero by 2030 (B Corp Climate Collective) target. Other common targets include reductions in line with “well below 2C” or 1.5 degree pathway (SBTi) at 11%, Net Zero by 2040 (Climate Pledge) at 8%, and Net Zero by 2050 (SME Climate Hub) at 3%.
We anticipate that we will continue to see a rise in companies making net zero commitments in the coming year. We are continuing to develop programming that will support companies in fulfilling these commitments.
40% OF RESPONDENTS ARE EXPLORING SETTING A NET-ZERO TARGET, AND 25% OF RESPONDENTS HAVE ALREADY SET A NET-ZERO TARGET
We continue to see that packaging, food waste, energy efficiency, and regenerative agriculture are significant areas of focus for the Collaborative community, and it was inspiring in the survey to see how many companies are having successes in these areas. However, there are still ongoing challenges in resourcing the work and navigating the barriers inherent in transitioning supply chains, reducing energy, and shifting agriculture practices. We are eager to help our community learn more about emergent solutions and to bring the Collaborative together to ensure that there is greater alignment in our efforts. This will enable us to achieve economy of scale in the areas where it is most needed in order to increase access to the most critical tools and solutions, reduce cost, and ultimately ensure that we are all having the greatest impact possible.
This year, our fourth tracking progress cycle, we asked all companies that made commitments before December 31, 2020, to respond, this is a total of 676 companies. This was a large increase from the previous year’s sample of 463 companies. Additionally, we expect but did not receive a 100% response rate, so this analysis is not exhaustive of all company commitments. We received 245 responses covering a total of 950 climate action commitments (a 36% response rate). This is an increase from 235 responses covering 585 commitments in 2020.
Overall, 700+ companies have made more than 2,700 climate commitments through the Climate Collaborative. The most popular commitments areas include Packaging, Food Waste, and Energy Efficiency. These commitment areas have consistently been the most popular areas since we launched, and represent key areas of focus for the Climate Collaborative. We will continue to help companies navigate the challenges they are facing in their commitment areas and bring to light informative company success stories.
COMMITMENT PROGRESS SUMMARY
On average, 63% of responding companies are in the midst of implementing their climate commitments. This is a decrease from last year (from 70%). In the past year, we saw a 68% increase in the number of companies asked to fill out the survey. Additionally, we saw an increase of 62% of commitments being reported on, compared to last year. The remaining 37% of companies are either in active planning stages or have not yet determined how they will implement their commitments.
63% OF COMPANIES ARE ALREADY IN THE PROCESS OF IMPLEMENTING THEIR COMMITMENTS
Packaging and Renewable Energy are the commitment areas in which responding companies are making the most progress, with 71% and 70%, respectively. This is a slight decline of companies actively implementing from previous years. Additionally, we’ve seen a growth in companies engaging in their Policy commitment. Companies are also making strong progress implementing Food Waste commitments, with 67% of responding companies actively implementing the commitment.
Transportation is the commitment area in which companies reported making the least progress. For Transportation, 54% of companies have begun implementing the commitment, and 46% are quantifying their progress. This represents a significant decrease from the 70% of companies implementing in 2020.
From 2020 to 2021, the percentage change of companies reporting that they are implementing climate action varied greatly across the nine commitment areas. Energy Efficiency; Forests; and Packaging all declined by a few percentage points, while Food Waste, Renewable Energy, HFCs, Methane, and Black Carbon, and Transport significantly declined. Agriculture and Policy increased steadily, with the former increasing from 54% implementing to 58% from 2020 to 2021, and the latter from 59% to 71%.
On average, companies report quantifying emissions reductions from their commitments 37% of the time, a slight decrease from 41% in 2020. We expect this may be due to an increase in companies signing on that are in an earlier stage of climate measurement and goal-setting.
37% OF RESPONDING COMPANIES ARE QUANTIFYING EMISSIONS REDUCTIONS, TO DATE
Progress in quantifying emissions reductions was most advanced around Renewable Energy, with 59% of the companies reporting that they were quantifying progress (down a few percentage points from 2020). This was followed by Food Waste, with 47% of reporting companies quantifying reductions (down from 63% last year), Energy Efficiency, with 46% reporting companies quantifying reductions (down from 56% last year), and Transport, with 46% reporting companies quantifying reductions (down from 65% last year).
Quantification was least advanced around Agriculture (15%, down from 27% in 2020), HFCs, Methane, and Black Carbon, (26%, up from 16% in 2020), Packaging (26%, up from 18% in 2020), and Forests (35%, up from 20% in 2020). This likely reflects the current state of quantification.
As part of the survey, we asked companies which external reporting platforms they used. According to survey respondents, B Lab is the top reporting platform among committed companies, with 34% of respondents on this question also reporting to B Lab (steady from 2020), followed by 11% reporting through 1% for the Planet. 12% of companies reported not using a formal reporting platform, a decrease from 2020. Companies also referenced using Carbon Neutral, Climate Neutral, CDP, SFTA at OTA, NCG Coefficient, CCOF, Climate Registry, GRI, Fair for Life, and RePurpose Global - plastic neutral.
In 2021, we saw a significant jump in the number of companies involved in the Climate Collaborative, growing from 463 companies in 2020 to 726 at the time of this report. When the Collaborative initially launched in 2017, most of the early engagers were companies that were already deeply involved in climate action. As we continue to grow the community, it’s to be expected that we’ll see a diverse representation of companies on their climate action journey.
At the Climate Collaborative, we actively work to help remove barriers to climate action and to provide tools that support companies of all sizes and at all phases of the climate action journey. It is through listening to our community, talking to our members, and seeing how our Climate Collaborators engage with our resources that we can assess what is most needed.
During October and November of 2021, our team engaged in a stakeholder inquiry process to help us see where the Climate Collaborative can continue to be of most service into the future. The insights shared along with the data from the Tracking Progress Survey will help us and our Board determine our most critical strategic priorities in this next phase of growth for the Climate Collaborative.
The Climate Collaborative Team and Board feel deep gratitude for the ongoing work of the companies within our community. Despite a pandemic, supply chain disruptions, and the emergent nature of the climate crisis, companies are committed as ever to taking meaningful action. We're honored to work alongside all of you in support of this critical work.
ANALYSIS BY COMMITMENT