Annual Report 2021


A sustainable future requires a clear direction and a pre-defined destination. We help businesses set credible science-based targets consistent with halving emissions by 2030 and reaching net-zero by 2050.

Science Based Targets logoSince its inception, WMBC has been funding SBTi and mobilizing business towards science-based targets. One of our earliest milestones was reaching 150 corporate commitments to SBTi in 2016. Today, with over 2,800 companies committed to acting through SBTi, the initiative is key to how we help businesses start their net-zero journey.

Through the Business Ambition for 1.5°C campaign, We Mean Business Coalition focused on driving more ambitious commitments to 1.5ºC. Today more than 1,390 companies have committed, and SBTi has paved the way for other companies.

Pushing ambition further, We Mean Business Coalition helps companies plan and take climate action by supporting standards and toolkits that provide a clear pathway for business action. In 2021, we worked with SBTi to launch the Net-Zero Standard, communicating current best practice in corporate net-zero target setting.

These initiatives bring us to the forefront of corporate climate action. We can see what is working, where progress is stalling, and where approaches seem likely to be replicable across businesses and sectors.

Alongside our partners, we develop special task forces to guide hard-to-abate sectors. In 2021, we helped launch the Science-Based Target Aviation Guidance with shipping, cement, steel, built environment and chemical sectors following in 2022.

Together with The Climate Pledge, we engage with companies taking action to achieve net zero by 2040 through regular reporting, carbon elimination and credible offsets. In less than three years since its creation in 2019, The Climate Pledge now has more than 300 signatories. In 2021, our work with The Climate Pledge involved building alignment between our work and other initiatives like SME Climate Hub and Race to Zero.

Recognizing that large companies can help small- and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs) in their supply chains become climate leaders, we launched the 1.5ºC Supplier Engagement Guide. The guide encourages all companies to reduce GHG emissions across their full value chain.
We also engaged directly with SMEs through the development of two important new tools. The first is a reporting framework for scope 1, 2 and 3 emissions that will better enable SMEs to join global climate action initiatives, and ultimately help close large data gaps in value chains and sectoral climate impact assessments. The second tool, the Financial Support Guide, provides insight into accessing financial support for their net-zero journey.

In 2021, WMBC and partners worked to coordinate business demand for nature-based solutions and signalled opportunities for growth in this space. We established a communication working group and a land-systems transformation team, as well as commissioning an analysis on the scale of nature-based solution removals. This culminated at COP26 with the announcement of the Natural Climate Solutions (NCS) Investment Accelerator, led by WBCSD and WEF.

The SME Climate Hub is a pioneering global initiative that aims to mobilize and support small and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs) – at scale – to take climate action. It streamlines the path for SMEs to become climate resilient by providing a one-stop-shop where they can make and implement science-based climate commitments and unlock valuable incentives.

The Hub’s pragmatic approach focuses on removing the obstacles SMEs face as they take climate action, by offering free, innovative tools that help small businesses measure and manage emissions, educate themselves on climate action, design and implement plans, and communicate on progress. In addition to offering a library of external resources, curated by the Net Zero team at Oxford University, it provides a dedicated suite of tools specifically designed to address the needs of the SME community.

Over the past year, the SME Climate Hub has developed a strong relationship with the UK government via the ‘Together for Our Planet’ campaign. The initial launch of the campaign led to 49 pieces of UK media coverage which included a tweet from the Prime Minister urging SMEs to make the SME Climate Commitment to access a range of tools to cut their emissions.

Other milestones in 2021 included the launch of the SME Climate Hub in Spanish as well as multitude of events leading to and at COP26.

Alongside events and communications campaigns, all of the Hub’s strategic partnerships were activated within the past year. These include partnership launches with The Climate Pledge and Amazon, Facebook, Verizon, Intuit, and other outreach partners like the Climate Collaborative, International Finance Forum, British Fashion Council, UNGC, and the Aspen Network of Development Entrepreneurs.

The SME Climate Hub is a joint initiative of the We Mean Business Coalition, acting as host organization, the Exponential Roadmap Initiative, Normative and the United Nations Race to Zero campaign. Through the SME Climate Hub, we are creating a tipping point for mainstreaming climate action across businesses of all sizes, sectors, and geographies, and helping corporates that have made net zero commitments address their scope 3 emissions.