Introducing the Hub

The Hub is organised in three sections: 1) an Introduction to Net Zero providing context and rationale for decarbonisation; 2) a guide to the Race to Zero campaign and how to join; and 3) a Knowledge Repository to explore solutions from across the decarbonisation landscape.

The Knowledge Repository section is a collection of over 100 case studies and other resources, which have been categorised by distinct decarbonisation levers identified as priority areas for carbon reduction within the consumer industries. The collection can be searched and filtered by decarbonisation lever, resource type, and sub-topic.

The Hub is intended to be a living repository. You are welcome to provide feedback or submit a new resource for consideration to the Hub through the Hub Submissions form found via the menu.

Download CGF Annual Report

The CGF recently published its first-ever annual report covering progress from the eight Coalitions of Action and included useful insights from a number of CEOs who reflected on the work so far, including the CGF’s role as a UN Race to Zero Accelerator.

Critical Levers to Reduce Carbon Emissions

There are diverse factors that should be considered in the transition to net zero. Among these, five priority levers that are key to the decarbonisation of Consumer industries are:

1. Sustainable Agriculture

2. Supplier Enablement

3. Transport & Logistics

4. Consumer Use  

5. Plastics & Packaging

More on these individual levers is below.

Lever 1: Sustainable Agriculture

Industrial-scale farming is a major driver of deforestation and emits vast quantities of greenhouse gases (GHGs) into the atmosphere, contributing to climate change. This is in addition to other large-scale environmental problems, such as topsoil degradation, groundwater contamination, and habitat loss.

Sustainable agriculture means farming in ways that meet people’s need for food today, without degrading the natural environment, accelerating climate change, and ultimately reducing the productivity of the planet’s natural capital. Several emerging agricultural solutions present opportunities to improve farming efficiency, reduce pressure on land and inputs, and even the possibility to turn farming from sources of emissions into net carbon sinks. Some of the emerging solutions include:

  • Alternative proteins — the substitution of animal protein with new alternatives. Alternatives at various stages of development include plant-based, fermentation-enabled, and cultured products.
  • Regenerative agriculture — farming practices that work with nature to maintain healthy soil structure and microbiology that draw down carbon into soils.
  • Controlled Environment Agriculture (CEA) — the technique of using indoor spaces and digital sensors to optimise growing conditions, utilise water and other resources efficiently, and minimise waste. In these farms, plants have targeted nutrient delivery, temperature control, and strategically placed lighting to increase productivity and output.
  • Precision agriculture — the use of advanced analytics, sensors, and other data (including in-field measurements, satellite imagery, and weather modelling) to inform farming decisions that can boost yield, profitability, and help manage land and resources in a more sustainable way.
  • Nature-based carbon insets — investments in nature-based carbon sequestration or avoidance projects within a company’s supply chain where the company plays an active role in the design and management of the project.

     

    Lever 2: Supplier Enablement

    Scope 3 emissions can account for over 90% of a Consumer company’s carbon footprint. Scope 3 emissions are those that come from activities not under a company’s direct control, and can either be upstream (e.g., the sourcing of ingredients) or downstream (e.g., the home refrigeration of products by consumers). Supplier enablement considers the upstream proportion of Scope 3 emissions and supporting suppliers with their decarbonisation.

    Working closely with suppliers is one way for brands and retailers to identify what suppliers are doing right by the environment, as well as areas for improvement. The first step towards supplier emissions reduction is to understand the source and impact of the emissions across one’s supplier network. With hotspots identified, companies can work collaboratively with suppliers to bring together the expertise, tools, and other resources needed to accelerate net-zero transformations.

    Lever 3: Transport & Logistics

    Transport and logistics includes the movement of goods, components, and raw materials through the supply chain. Complex supply chains can source materials and components from hundreds of locations across the globe to create a finished good.

    Decarbonising transport and logistics focuses on both shortening supply chains (reducing the distances travelled) and decarbonising the methods of transport. Transport & Logistics innovations include battery and hydrogen fuel cell electric vehicles, switching transportation methods, route optimisation, supply chain re-design, load optimisation and other solutions. Substantial challenges remain in scaling technologies such as electric/hydrogen vehicles and decarbonising shipping and aviation.

    Lever 4: Consumer Use

    Decarbonising consumer use spans the use and post-use of goods and services, as well as purchasing decisions. Downstream consumer emissions, such as the indirect emissions from at-home refrigeration, can be difficult to quantify and address.

    Against a background of several ESG trends, there is evidence that consumers are becoming increasingly conscious about their purchases and interested in brands’ sustainability credentials. It is important, therefore, that Consumer Goods and Retail companies assess how they can best engage with their customers and consumers to drive sustainable consumption, green product lines, and more transparent carbon labelling.

    Lever 5: Plastics & Packaging

    Plastics and packaging can be key drivers of GHG emissions, especially where virigin plastics are used and packaging ends up in landfill or incineration. There are actions that companies can take to cut emissions, such as using more sustainable materials (e.g., recycled plastics and novel materials like seaweed and mycelium), designing their products differently (e.g., to be reusable or use fewer materials), and incorporating circularity principles (e.g., recycling and refilling, takeback schemes, repair).