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‘Net Zero’ Report 2023 : 58 % of internationally surveyed companies are reducing communication on their climate transition


Alongside the report, CO2logic assesses the climate commitment of Belgian companies


Brussels, January 2024 – CO2logic and South Pole (its parent company), the world’s largest independent climate solutions provider and carbon project developer, released today the results of the new Net Zero report, based on 2023 data.


This 4th edition, built upon an independent survey, includes information from over 1,400 executives specialised in sustainability or in corporate social responsibility (CSR), from 14 sectors and 12 countries. The study analyses how proactive companies said to be “climate-committed” are moving towards net zero emissions and the challenge they face.

  • For the first time, the survey confirms the tendency of not communicating, known as “ greenhushing” that targets almost all industrial sectors. 


  • Despite this, the vast majority (81 %) of companies say that communicating on net zero is good for their financial results. 


  • However, almost half (44 %) of all companies surveyed find it more difficult to communicate than before, attributing this to changing regulations, among other factors.


Don’t have time to read the full report? Access the executive summary here

If 92% of listed companies in the world have no public commitment to net zero, a significant small group of “climate-committed” are stepping up their climate action efforts.


The annual Net Zero Report, based on data collected by independent service provider Sapio for CO2logic and South Pole, shows some encouraging findings: the vast majority of companies “committed to climate” claim that they have set a Net Zero target and indicate that this target is essential to their commercial success. Customer demand is the main driver of their climate action. For this group of well-informed companies, Net Zero seems to be an integrated practice that is considered unavoidable. One might therefore expect that these companies would proudly communicate about their climate action. However, the survey reveals a major contradiction that could delay collective efforts to achieve Net Zero. The survey shows that "greenhushing" is now the new norm.

The growing trend of “greenhushing”


The report shows that the majority of companies surveyed - 9 out of 14 major sectors, from fashion to technology to consumer goods - are actively reducing their climate communications. Even the most environmentally-friendly companies are "greenhushing".


Of all the companies surveyed worldwide, most (81%) say they are convinced that communicating their net zero commitments can be beneficial and have a positive impact on their financial results. Nearly half (46%) of all the companies surveyed mentioned growing customer demand for sustainability and the prevention of climate change risks within their supply chains (39%) as strategic development issues, prompting them to commit to net zero. However, more than half (58%) of these companies believe that it is increasingly difficult and risky to communicate their action plans, and are deliberately planning to reduce their level of communication on the subject. 


Eric Dierckx Head of Climate Strategies at CO2logic says : 


« In Belgium, there is certainly no shortage of ambitious companies fighting against climate change. Despite an unfortunate trend towards “greenhushing”, numerous companies prefer to take action. In Belgium, we often tend to speak out only about what we know perfectly. However, I believe this is a transition phase for companies towards more structured communication, guided by regulations requiring more transparency. I dare to hope that this temporary reticence will serve as an impetus to go further in the coming years.”

Where do Belgian companies stand?


Alongside the report, CO2logic also takes stock of the commitment of Belgian companies. Eric Dierckx notes that: 


"In concrete terms, 135 Belgian companies (of all sizes) are committed to an SBT trajectory, 89 of which already have a target validated by the SBT initiative's Technical Committee. Of these 89 companies, 76 have committed to a target aimed at reducing their emissions along a trajectory compatible with average global warming of +1.5°C maximum. 

The SBT standard requires companies to halve their emissions by 2030, with no obligation to neutralise residual emissions, and encourages companies to work towards a long-term Net-Zero target (before 2050). In addition, 34 Belgian companies have committed to a Net Zero trajectory but only 6 have a validated Net Zero target. Net Zero is more restrictive as it requires a reduction in emissions of 85-90% by 2050 across the entire value chain, and the obligation to neutralise residual emissions with CO2 capture solutions (whether based on technology or nature). Finally, 3 companies have withdrawn their commitment.” 


The top 5 most committed sectors in Belgium are: 

  • Food & beverages (17 companies),


  • Professional services (12 companies),


  • Real Estate (10 companies),


  • Software and services (10 companies),


  • Financial services (8 companies). 


"Of the 89 companies with an approved SBT target, 63% are SMEs, 35% are large companies and 2% are financial organizations. Of those that have committed to an SBT target, 83% are large companies, 9% are SMEs and 9% are financial institutions. By the end of 2025, 69 out of 135 large companies out, or 51%, should have an approved SBT target", concludes Dierckx. Eric Dierckx, Head of Climate Strategies at CO2logic


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