Business practices follow customer demand and preference. Customers in major markets of the world, especially in Europe and parts of North America and others, demand sustainable development. Governments in these regions have enacted legislation and rules that require businesses to adopt sustainability practices. It is this that is driving companies to adopt climate-friendly business practices.
Businesses respond to these pressures from society and actively promote sustainable practices. Major corporations of the world are preparing annual sustainability reports in which they report actions taken to achieve sustainability targets.
Science-Based Target Initiative (SBTi) is a partnership between CDP (Carbon disclosure program), the U.N. Global Compact, World Resources Institute (WRI), and the World Wide Fund for Nature (WWF). SBTi is a major institution that assists in the monitoring of these targets.
But dressing sustainability actions are also quite common. The Corporate Climate Responsibility Monitor reported that company headline pledges are often ambiguous. In a survey of 25 companies, the Monitor notes that “just 3 of the 25 companies – Maersk, Vodafone, and Deutsche Telkom have committed to deep decarbonization of over 90 percent of their full value chain emissions. The evaluation found that the actual achievement of the 25 companies is less than 20 percent of their 2.7 GtCO2e emission footprint of their respective headline target years. In short, greenwashing is common among corporations.
The business health of companies requires them to be transparent in their reporting of progress towards achieving sustainability goals. It is a business imperative for companies to follow sustainable practices. In the transportation sector for instance, eighty percent of global passenger travel and nine percent of freight activity is done by rail. Rail travel uses only three percent of transport energy use. India and China are investing heavily in the electrification of rail lines. According to IEA’s – The Future of Rail Report –, rail requires twelve times less energy. It emits seven to eleven times fewer GHGs per passenger kilometer traveled than private vehicles and airplanes.
China plans to double its high-speed rail network from 36000 kilometers to 70000 kilometers over the next fifteen years. All cities with populations greater than 200,000 will be connected by rail. China also completed a hydrogen-fuel cell hybrid train. India’s broad-gauge routes are now fully electric, and the network plans to achieve net-zero emissions by 2030. The Indian Railways is working on launching an experimental hydrogen fuel-based train network shortly. Many European networks have introduced hydrogen fuel-based trains and are planning to extend these on their networks.
The outlook for gas is more durable than for coal or oil. There will be a broad-based demand for gas. The increasing availability of global supplies will support it. The gas market will grow relatively robustly over the next fifteen years. It will be driven by China, India, and other Asian countries as they switch from coal to lower-carbon fuels. In the Net Zero scenario, the 2050 demand for gas is forecast at around 35 percent below 2018 levels. Much of the gas exports will be in the form of liquified natural gas (LNG).
LNG will be used to produce blue hydrogen. It will account for almost ten percent of global gas demand by 2050. In the Net Zero scenario, the use of gas in the power sector and buildings is projected to fall from around 65 percent to 90 percent. The demand will partially offset the gas required to produce blue hydrogen. The growth in the industrial market will come from emerging economies as the industrialization of these economies continues.
The significant expected switching of coal will support the gas market to gas within China’s industrial sector. Natural gas will aid the shift away from coal, which will be seen most clearly in Asia. Most natural gas is used as a direct energy source in industry and power, with the residual used to produce blue hydrogen. The surge in LNG demand is met by increasing supplies from the US, Africa, and the Middle East. Developing Asia will be the dominant destination along with the E.U.
The growth in renewable energy is dominated by wind and solar power. Costs of this power are projected to fall by up to 70 percent in the Net Zero scenario. The emerging economies will dominate most of the growth in renewable energy, driven by strong growth in power generation. A significant share of wind and solar energy will produce green hydrogen. Around one-third of the installed capacity by 2050 is projected to grow green hydrogen.
Business practices worldwide are adapting to the energy transition sweeping us worldwide.