The UN has set up an Expert Group that will push businesses, investors, cities and regions to “walk the talk” on their net zero goals.

The Group will develop stronger and clearer standards for net zero emissions pledges by non-state entities, to speed up genuine emissions cuts. The launch comes amid a worsening climate crisis and a growing urgency for all commitments to be transparent, credible and backed by robust implementation plans.

UN Secretary-General António Guterres said, ““Despite growing pledges of climate action, global emissions are at an all-time high. They continue to rise. The latest science shows that climate disruption is causing havoc in every region – right now. We are in a race against time to limit global heating to 1.5 degrees. And we are losing.”

The Expert Group’s recommendations for higher ambition and environmental integrity will address four areas:

  • Current standards and definitions for setting net zero targets;
  • Credibility criteria used to assess the objectives, measurement and reporting of net zero pledges;
  • Processes for verification and accounting of progress towards net zero commitments and reported decarbonisation plans; and
  • A roadmap to translate standards and criteria into international and national level regulations.

The Expert Group will consist of independent experts, drawn from a diverse group of countries and regions. It will publish its recommendations before the end of the year.

Best practice

The Group’s launch highlights the importance of setting robust net zero plans, with credible short-term action. Many businesses are aligning themselves with best-practice frameworks, such as the , the SBTi’s Corporate Net Zero Standard.

Recent research found that climate pledges from some of the world’s biggest businesses will fail get them to net zero.