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Mathias Lelievre

Net zero: A bold and worthy goal, but now it’s time to deliver

9th September 2021 Mathias Lelievre, Chief Executive Officer, ENGIE Impact 3 min read

The Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) has yet again issued perilous warnings about the earth’s changing climate. And who, among us, has not experienced such changes firsthand? Be it record high temperatures, heavy downpours and flooding, or the lingering smoky air from wildfires?  Still, I have never felt more confident in our collective ability to transform and build a cleaner, safer, more resilient future.

The past 18 months have shown us that, when faced with a sudden global crisis, cities, companies, and governments can mobilize capital, retrain workforces, innovate and collaborate in unprecedented ways. Though we’ve not yet emerged from the challenges of the pandemic, one thing is clear: transformation is more accessible than we previously thought possible.

Despite the turmoil of the pandemic, ambition to address climate change has continued to ratchet up. The leading governments and companies that have set targets to reach Net Zero carbon emissions by 2050 at the latest now collectively account for more than half of global economic output and almost 25% global CO2 emissions.

However, leaders of governments and corporates alike are quickly finding that setting a Net Zero goal is far easier than achieving it. With the timeline for transformation shortening, incremental efforts that fit within existing operating models won’t cut it.  Much like the pandemic, we need to address the climate challenge not only with ingenuity and investment but also with urgency and scale.

Leaders need to be asking questions like:

  • How can we rethink our capital allocation models to accelerate our progress?
  • How can we embed carbon into all decisions we make across the organization?
  • How do we build accountability for climate action across our organization?

As this year’s Climate Week NYC sponsor of the Hub Live, ENGIE Impact has the pleasure of hosting roundtables with some of the world’s most influential climate leaders. Together, our mission is clear: translate our science-based goals into collective action that moves at the speed of our ambition.

The Three Dimensions of Net Zero Transformation

We are urging the business community to sharpen our focus around the right dimensions of Net Zero. While Net Zero transformation will be unique to each organization, we’ve found that all successful decarbonization is fundamentally anchored around three dimensions: Levers, Scale, and Enablers.

ENGIE Impact-Three Dimensions to Deliver on Net Zero.png

Levers are all the solutions you can implement to decarbonize, from reducing energy consumption, to procuring green energy, and using high-quality offsets to neutralize residual emissions that have not yet been reduced by other means. Scales define the boundaries of your effort, for example, how you will engage manufacturing sites, suppliers, customers and communities. Enablers are the gears of transformation and include ambition and strategy, governance, financing mechanisms, incentives, and digital tools.

While more and more leaders are identifying the necessary levers of decarbonization, and increasingly the scales at which they will need to operate, few have invested in the enablers of change that will unlock progress at the speed their Net Zero targets demand.

It’s never been clearer what needs to be done – and how. We’ve heard the warnings and we’ve made the pledges. Now we must shift to executing with purpose, precision and urgency. Together, we will deliver the Net Zero transformation our companies, cities and communities need.

Call To Action: Is your organization prepared to deliver on Net Zero? Take the Net Zero Readiness Diagnostic