Accenture’s Latest Research Unveils Challenges on the Path to Net Zero Emissions

Only 18% of Companies on Track for 2050 Net Zero Goals; Economic Hurdles Impede Progress

Fewer than 1 in 5 Companies on Track for Net Zero by 2050, Accenture Finds

New research from Accenture indicates that only 18% of companies are currently on track to achieve net-zero emissions in their operations by 2050. Despite a rise in net-zero commitments, 38% of companies cite economic constraints hindering further decarbonization investments.

The study, released ahead of COP28, delves into the decarbonization landscape, revealing that heavy industries, responsible for 40% of global CO2 emissions, face significant challenges. While 37% of companies have set net-zero targets, nearly half of those disclosing emissions data have witnessed an increase since 2016.

Accenture identifies key decarbonization levers, including traditional measures like energy efficiency and renewables, alongside more complex strategies such as green IT and business model reinvention. Jean-Marc Ollagnier, CEO of Accenture for Europe, emphasizes the need for collective action, stating, “Reaching net zero is a unique opportunity for every organization to reinvent themselves and their value chains.”

The report underscores the critical role of heavy industry in achieving global net-zero targets. However, economic barriers and structural misalignments pose challenges. Access to affordable, low-carbon energy, commercial viability of low-carbon products, and managing costs are key concerns.

In a bid to break the economic stalemate, Accenture proposes three key steps to be accomplished within the next three years, including targeting green premiums, scaling low-carbon power and hydrogen, and reducing capital and operating expenses related to low-carbon infrastructure.

Stephanie Jamison, global resources industry practice lead at Accenture, stresses the urgency: “To provide the business growth necessary for net zero, imperatives must be executed in parallel and scaled to meet the moment, starting right now.”

The research methodology involved collaboration with The SmartCube to analyze data on the G2000 companies. The report emphasizes the importance of stakeholders worldwide coming together to create a new frontier for the economics of decarbonization, laying the foundation for heavy industry reinvention.