We won’t hit Net Zero by wishful thinking
The internal documents that have emerged during the US congressional hearing showing Big Oil’s, ahem, creative approach to Net Zero climate targets take the breath away, eg to quote the Guardian:
Shell, meanwhile, has committed to becoming a “net zero” emissions business by 2050, and yet the documents show a private 2020 communication in which employees are urged to never “imply, suggest, or leave it open for possible misinterpretation that (net zero) is a Shell goal or target”. Shell has “no immediate plans to move to a net-zero emissions portfolio” over the next 10 to 20 years, it added.
While this is clearly deeply cynical, organisations which set Net Zero goals and then pursue incremental actions to climate action aren’t a huge amount better. They’re basically hoping someone will wave a magic wand and all will be well.
This is why I use backcasting both as a methodology to develop an effective Net Zero strategy, but to engage stakeholders in what Net Zero means for the organisation. The opening question of the backcasting process, “what will the organisation look like if we hit Net Zero by 2030/40/50?”, is the second most powerful weapon in Corporate Sustainability (the first is “why should your organisation take Sustainability seriously?”). It makes people think about massive step changes, not minor tweaks, without you needing to explain anything. Try it, it works.