EDP has responded to the United Nations challenge and is one of the 87 major companies around the world that have pledged to reduce emissions and ensure global warming does not exceed 1.5°C. The 'Business Ambition for 1.5ºC - Our Only Future' commitment, formalized today in New York, brings together a group of companies that also include Vodafone, Nestlé, Unilever and Telefónica, among others.
The UN challenge was launched in June in an open letter urging corporate leaders to set ambitious emission reduction targets in order to limit global warming to 1.5°C, as per the recommendations of the 2018 Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) report. This commitment involves a number of global warming control measures that will be validated by an independent organization - Science-Based Targets initiative.
According to EDP Group CEO António Mexia, who attended the New York meeting where several corporate leaders announced this commitment, “the 2018 IPCC study made it clear that there is a huge difference between 1.5°C and 2°C. We, corporations and governments, have to be more ambitious and do more by working together. We at EDP have long realized that decarbonization must be perceived as an opportunity, and that electrification is the most crucial step to ensure this imperative transition. We had ambitious emission reduction goals ten years ago, and now we step up that ambition."
EDP had already set an emission reduction target to limit global warming to 2°C, but now the company is aiming higher in order to expedite the fight against climate change. The goals set by EDP in its 'Strategic Update' (released in March this year) establish that by 2030, over 90% of the group's electricity will be generated from renewable sources, and that there will also be a 90% reduction in specific CO2 emissions compared to 2005.
These are the ambitious goals of a strategy that has been once again recognized by the Dow Jones Sustainability Index, which has listed EDP as the world's No. 1 integrated utilities company last week. Incidentally, EDP is the only Portuguese company ranked on this global list for 12 years in a row.
The signatory companies were awarded during today's meeting at the Private Sector Forum, which has been inviting public and private sector leaders to discuss key global issues at the UN headquarters since 2008. Throughout this week New York will host a large-scale debate on environmental and sustainability issues, underpinned by the urgency of setting ambitious intervention goals involving companies, governments, researchers, and grassroots organizations.
As the chairman of the Sustainable Energy for All (SEforALL) Board of Directors - a UN-backed non-profit organization promoting universal access to sustainable energy until 2030 - António Mexia will attend several Climate Week events focusing on environmental and sustainability issues.