Many companies still have no net-zero climate plan

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Good morning.

BlackRock CEO Larry Fink yesterday challenged companies to disclose plans for how they will achieve “net zero” global emissions by 2050—meaning they emit no more carbon dioxide than they remove from the environment. Fink’s letter is a clear indication of the rapidly changing business attitude toward combatting climate change.

But how many companies can actually meet Fink’s challenge? Fortune, in collaboration with Deloitte, has just completed a survey in which we asked more than 100 CEOs (mostly large companies): “When does your organization plan to reach net-zero global carbon emissions?” The majority of those responding—more than 60%—say they already have a plan to reach net zero by 2050. Indeed, most of those say they have plans to reach the goal even sooner.

But that still leaves almost 40% who don’t yet have a plan to reach “net zero.” Given that BlackRock is the world’s largest asset manager, the other companies may soon join the growing climate-concerned crowd.

Separately, I believe history will look back on 2020 as the year when big business got serious about diversity, equity and inclusion. Our new poll supports that 94% of the CEOs said DEI is a “personal strategic priority goal.” Even more significant, in my view, are two new programs created by CEOs to ensure the commitments extends to actions, not just words. 

The first is the OneTen Coalition, a group of companies organized by Merck CEO Ken Frazier and IBM Executive Chair Ginni Rometty that have made specific commitments to upskill, hire and advance one million Black Americans over the next decade into well-paying jobs.

The second is Measure Up, a partnership between Fortune and data company Refinitiv to challenge companies to disclose their data on ethnic diversity—which is still rare. Our view is that transparency is necessary to ensure accountability and drive real change.  

Refinitiv CEO David Craig and former Infor CEO Charles Phillips, one of the founders of OneTen, joined Ellen McGirt and me this week on our podcast Leadership Next to talk about these groundbreaking programs.  You can listen to the podcast here—Apple/Spotify—learn more about OneTen here, and sign up for our Measure Up here.

More news below.

Alan Murray

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