Countries, cities and corporations committing to ‘zero carbon by’ or ‘carbon-neutral by’ …..

26th June 2018

In May 2017, the people of Greater Manchester elected Andy Burnham as GM Mayor. In his manifesto, he committed to a new, accelerated ambition for Greater Manchester on the green economy and carbon neutrality, building on the leadership of the six local authorities that signed a 100% clean energy pledge in 2015.

Ahead of the Green Summit on March 21st, the Greater Manchester Combined Authority commissioned the world leading Tyndall Centre for Climate Change Research at the University of Manchester to provide an evidence-based answer to the question of what that “new goal” for carbon neutrality should be.

We understand that the Tyndall Centre findings are that for Greater Manchester to make its ‘fair’ contribution towards the 2 degree C commitment enshrined in the Paris Agreement, our remaining carbon budget for energy and ground transport is 71 million tonnes.  And in order to stay within that budget, we need to:

* deliver 14% carbon savings per annum;

* halve our emissions in the next 5 years;

* achieve carbon neutrality by 2038.

[The Tyndall Centre report: Quantifying the implications of the Paris Agreement for Greater Manchester is now available online]

While this may be challenging, it is not unprecedented – many countries, cities and corporations around the world have already pledged to be ‘zero-carbon’ or ‘carbon-neutral’ far ahead of 2050.

We have compiled the table below to highlight some of the countries, cities/regions and corporations / organisations that have committed to going “carbon neutral” or “zero carbon” before the 2050 deadline.

However, as there is not yet a standard definition of what the different terms mean, pledging to go ‘carbon neutral‘, “zero carbon” or “zero net carbon” often means different things to different people. Is a business referring to just their energy use or their entire operations?  Is a city or country taking into account embedded emissions from manufacture and production in other countries or the impact of airports and aviation?

Greater Manchester has identified an evidence-based ‘carbon budget‘ – the challenge now is to work together to make it happen.

If you don’t see your business, school, university, public sector organisation listed below – why not ask them what they are doing to reduce their ‘carbon emissions’ and when they will be ‘zero carbon’ or ‘carbon neutral’?

If they are listed, why not ask them how they are going to succeed.

PS Have we missed any pledges?  Let us know…..

Year Country City / Region Corporation
 2020 California’s new homes to be zero carbon by 2020 Bank of America pledges to go ‘carbon neutral’ by 2020

Brecon Carreg (Wales) aims to be Carbon Neutral by 2020

Evian: Objective: Zero Net Carbon by 2020

Philips targets carbon neutrality by 2020. See also Carbon footprint

 2021 Costa Rica pledges carbon neutrality by 2021
2022  Aran islands could be carbon neutral by 2022 (Ireland) Burberry, we have set ourselves a goal to become carbon neutral by 2022

Mace: Going carbon neutral by 2022.

Morgan Stanley commits to sourcing 100% of its global energy needs from renewable energy by 2022

The Ollerton Group believes in protecting our environment for our future generations and aims to become carbon neutral by 2022.

PGAC (Belgium) To become carbon neutral by 2022


Ethiopia: Aspiring to Become a Carbon Neutral Middle Income Manufacturing Hub by 2025

Adelaide. Carbon Neutral Strategy 2015–2025

Brighton & Hove is working towards becoming a ‘One Planet’ region, endorsed by BioRegional. The objective is for all buildings and structures over which the local authority has direct influence to be ‘net zero carbon’. A detailed plan for achieving zero carbon by 2025 will be put in place within three years of writing the One Planet Action Plan.

Copenhagen. As part of its determination to become carbon-neutral by 2025. See Copenhagen Climate Plan (Short version)

As part of Gateshead Council’s 2030 vision, it is planned to make Gateshead carbon neutral by 2025.SAP to Go Carbon Neutral by 2025.

Joensuu (Finland) The city of Joensuu has set itself the objective of reducing greenhouse gas emissions and becoming carbon neutral by 2025.

Missoula (Montana, USA) Missoula City Council passes plan to be carbon neutral by 2025.

Loyola University Chicago. Carbon neutral by 2025.

SAP to Go Carbon Neutral by 2025.

the Arthur Hotel Group in Copenhagen, Denmark, we discussed their journey to become the first carbon-neutral hotel group in the world.

Macalester College (USA) is committed to being carbon neutral by 2025 in order to lower our environmental impact.

Patagonia’s Path to Carbon Neutrality by 2025

Siemens Gamesa has embraced the challenge of becoming carbon neutral by 2025. This is one of the most ambitious climate commitments a company can take on.

University of California. UC, a national leader in sustainability, has pledged to become carbon neutral by 2025, becoming the first major university to accomplish this achievement.

University of Sheffield. Carbon Neutral University Network. An open network of students, staff and the general public committed to encouraging and developing solutions to support the University of Sheffield to become Carbon Neutral by 2025.

University of Wisconsin Oshkosh (USA) establishes bold plan to achieve carbon neutrality by 2025

Volvo: We aim to be climate neutral (in terms of CO2) in all our own manufacturing operations by 2025. This is a global commitment which we will achieve through energy efficiency and by securing climate neutral energy supplies.

WSP has set a target for its entire UK business to become carbon neutral by 2025.

2030 Norway pledges to become climate neutral by 2030. Parliament approves radical proposal of accelerated emissions cuts and carbon offsetting to achieve climate goal 20 years earlier than planned.

Welsh public sector to be carbon neutral by 2030.

Aarhus, Denmark’s second largest city will decide in September whether to finance a plan to become carbon-neutral by 2030. It would become one of only a handful of cities in the world to set such ambitious climate change targets.  (It did !)

Christchurch (New Zealand) has set itself a target of becoming net carbon neutral by 2030.

Espoo, Finland. Carbon neutral by 2030.

Oslo, Norway. Carbon Neutral by 2030.

Vancouver, Canada, became the first major city in North America to target zero carbon emissions by 2030. The goal includes plans to make all new buildings emission-free by 2030 — meaning ultra-energy-efficient new buildings will soon be common in Vancouver.

Bath Spa University. By setting out a clear long-term vision for the University to become Carbon Neutral by 2030.

This approach will make Boston Scientific carbon neutral by 2030

Carlsberg  – Beer giant Carlsberg has launched a new sustainability programme, with plans to eliminate carbon emissions and halve water usage by 2030

Siemens is leading the way: carbon-neutral operations by 2030. See also “Strong business case to go carbon neutral.”

University of Bristol. Aiming to become a net carbon neutral campus by 2030.

 2035 Helsinki, Finland  Seeks to Be Carbon Neutral by 2035.

Montgomery County, Maryland (USA) adopts IgCC and commits to zero carbon by 2035

Tampere (Finland) aims to become carbon neutral by 2035.

Vaasa (Finland) aims to be carbon-neutral by 2035.

ESB (Republic of Ireland) – Electricity Supply Board. Carbon-neutral generator by 2035.
 2040 Iceland.  Prime Minister Announces Plan for Carbon-Neutral Iceland by 2040. Des Moines (Iowa, USA) is still following its goals–which were set back in 2015–to reduce emissions by 25% by 2020, 50% by 2030, and be carbon neutral by 2040

Liverpool. I have also pledged to at long-last harness the power of the River Mersey to spearhead our aim to be carbon neutral by 2040.

Reykjavík: the geothermal city that aims to go carbon neutral. Icelandic capital plans to reduce its greenhouse gas emissions to zero by 2040 by reversing urban sprawl and promoting walking, cycling and public transport.

Santa Fe (USA) achieve the city’s goal of being carbon neutral by 2040.

Stockholm – carbon neutral / fossil-free by 2040.

Turku (Finland)  Carbon-neutral by 2040.

Mars: The company has committed to making its roughly 150 factories worldwide carbon neutral by the year 2040.

McGill University (Canada) aims to become carbon neutral by 2040.

University of Edinburgh has committed to become zero carbon by 2040. The University’s Climate Strategy 2016 lays out a comprehensive whole institution approach to climate change mitigation and adaptation in order to achieve its ambitious targets.

University of Portland (Oregon, USA) Carbon neutral by 2040.


Sweden has committed to cutting its net carbon emissions to zero by 2045, becoming the first country to significantly upgrade its carbon ambitions since the Paris accord in 2015.
The law was drawn up by a cross-party committee and passed with an overwhelming majority in parliament by 254 votes to 41.

 Hawaii Governor David Ige (D) signed a bill implementing the most ambitious climate law in the United States. The new law, which comes into effect July 1, sets the goal for the state to become carbon neutral by 2045.