Net Zero – The key to a sustainable future

Net Zero – The key to a sustainable future

To avoid the worst effects of climate change we need to reduce our emissions to net zero by 2050. With continued investment and innovations, is it truly possible to achieve this goal and build a sustainable future for our planet?


Environmental sustainability is not just a responsibility for a few individuals or industries. If our climate is to be protected, sustainability must be a global priority. Therefore, governments and companies worldwide are in the race to achieve net zero emissions of greenhouse gases. The global widespread development and implementation are fundamental to making net-zero commitments and achieving sustainability.


Joining the global effort and becoming a net-zero business


Participating in the journey to net zero means reducing greenhouse gas emissions and/or ensuring that any ongoing emissions are balanced by removals. This transition prevents the buildup of physical climate risks and reduces the negative impacts of climate change worldwide. Being a global initiative, the UNEP Emissions Gap Report shows that more than 3,000 businesses and financial institutions are working with the Science-Based Targets Initiative to reduce their emissions in line with climate science.

On top of that, 1000 cities and 1000+ educational institutions, have committed to the net-zero transition, pledging to take immediate action to halve global emissions by 2030. Additionally, more than 70 countries, including – China, the United States, and the European Union – have set a net zero target, covering about 76% of global emissions.


Global leaders and decision-makers: Implementing best practices towards net zero


To achieve a significant milestone toward the net-zero target goals, government leaders and businesses need to cooperate and come up with solutions that will create a sustainable future for generations to come. Organizations are coming together to bring on board policies, technology, and finance-related matters with the aim to achieve net-zero emissions by 2050.


To deliver a transformational COP of action, global organizations are playing a positive role in protecting the environment. Here are some examples: 


  • Dell Technologies transitioning to a net zero future through responsible technology manufacturing.
  • Estée Lauder cosmetics company sends zero waste to landfills. Their waste is either recycled or incinerated and converted into energy.
  • Google's goal is to run on carbon-free energy, 24/7. This will be implemented at all of its data centers by 2030.
  • Ikea aims to be 100% powered by renewable energy across the entire IKEA value chain and also offer zero-emission home deliveries.


green plant

Sustainable digital operations: An important approach to net zero


The accelerated growth in the use of digital technology is helping businesses to thrive. However, organizations should ensure that it's executed sustainably. More organizations have started adopting sustainable IT solutions.


  • To reduce emissions there is a need for advancing sustainable computing and reuse or recycle of digital products. It is a great way to fight against the growing e-waste crisis while contributing to the reduction of carbon emissions.
  • Track resource production and usage, also provide products and services that contribute to a sustainable future. Now more than ever, we’re aware of the effects fossil fuels hold.
  • Sustainability in terms of energy requires the use of sustainable sources such as wind, solar, and hydropower. All of which can be considered inexhaustible and widely available to almost everyone across the globe. Hence, the need to also reduce dependence on fossil fuels.
  • To add on companies can mobilize finances, investments, and form partnerships contributing to the innovation that makes net-zero emissions goals possible. Companies have the option of several local and global campaigns they could join.


Transitioning to clean and renewable energy sources, utilizing climate-friendly innovation, and reducing waste is a high recommendation goal for all businesses. Developing climate solutions - in the areas of nature, and sustainable infrastructure - helps to build a more resilient and prosperous future.


The emanation of the net-zero transitions across the globe


It's noticeable that governments and businesses are partaking in achieving net-zero goals. But what triggered this initiative and what is the end goal? On 12 December 2015, 196 Parties at the UN Climate Change Conference (COP21) in Paris, France, signed what is known as the Paris Agreement. Simply, it is a legally binding international treaty on climate change. It then entered into force on 4 December 2016.


The Paris Agreement's goal is to hold “the increase in the global average temperature to well below 2°C above pre-industrial levels”. To top it up, it also aims “to limit the temperature increase to 1.5°C above pre-industrial levels.” On 8 November 2022, the United Nations Secretary-General Anto'nio Guterres presented that “Government or private sector commitments to net-zero cannot be a mere public relations exercise."


Transitioning to a net-zero world is among the challenges that humankind has faced and had to unite to achieve. The impacts being caused by climate change are clearly visible and call for immediate action. It calls for nothing less than a semi or complete adjustment, depending on the sector in how we produce, consume, and move about.


Here are the top five polluters by industry and their Greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions per year:


1. Energy (Electricity and Heating): 15.83 billion tons


2. Transportation: 8.43 billion tons


3. Manufacturing and construction: 6.3 billion tons


4. Agriculture: 5.79 billion tons


5. Food retail: 3.1 billion tons


The transition to a net-zero economy requires implementing new technologies, business models, strategies, and processes. Notably, “capital spending on physical assets for energy and land-use systems in the net-zero transition between 2021 and 2050 would amount to about $275 trillion, or $9.2 trillion per year on average, an annual increase of as much as $3.5 trillion from today.” - McKinsey & Company




Climate change isn’t a challenge for tomorrow. It’s an imperative for today—solved only through global integration to ensure a sustainable future for generations to come. Businesses, governments, investors, and society need to work hand in hand to harness multiple ways to accelerate the race to zero—and tackle climate change head-on. On top of that, all industries globally—not just the energy sector—must achieve net zero to avoid a permanently warmer planet.

Eager to learn more about how governments and organizations have committed to net-zero emissions? Read more about the latest enterprise technology, innovation, and sustainable industry practices at CXO Connect ME.

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Image Sources:

Windmill technology: Photo by Efe Kurnaz on Unsplash


Sustainability: Photo by Noah Buscher on Unsplash

Takunda Matsuro