Net-Zero at Milliken - Urgent and Universal

Net-Zero Halsey

Net-Zero at Milliken: Urgent and Universal

Author : Halsey Cook

This past December, I spoke at the Reuters NEXT Conference, which gave more than 350 global leaders and countless viewers the opportunity to learn how Milliken will help shape tomorrow.

Milliken is one of the first 50 companies in the world, and the first in South Carolina, to have science-based short- and long-term targets approved by the U.N.-backed Science Based Targets initiative (SBTi) to chart our course toward becoming net-zero by 2050.

 In a Reuters NEXT fireside chat with Urban Green Council CEO John Mandyck, I shared my views about net-zero and Milliken’s path as we begin this journey.

 At its core, the global net-zero push calls us to limit global temperature increase to below 2ºC, preferably 1.5ºC, a principle agreed upon by more than 190 countries in the 2015 Paris Agreement. To do this, our world must halve climate emissions by 2030, then halve them again by 2050, and finally remove whatever CO2 is left in the atmosphere at that point.

 That is precisely what we’re doing at Milliken. Our approved targets cover all our emissions to meet a truly net-zero future.


The urgent impact

The Paris Climate Agreement set a way forward, but it doesn’t fully impart the current importance of climate action. Data now shows that a more than 40% global emissions reduction is required by 2030 to meet the 1.5ºC limit.

 The world is on track for less than 10%. 

 Climate change is outpacing any collective sense of urgency to counteract it. As a company that has long been a standard-bearer for sustainability, we realized that we have a unique opportunity to lead in this area. If we, as a company, aren’t taking action, why should we expect others to?

 Our own sense of urgency helped us move quickly to submit our science-based net-zero targets to SBTi for verification. Once we learned that our targets had been verified, we told South Carolina and the world that we would lead the way as we begin to act on our approved targets. We have already started on our short-term targets, to be achieved by 2030, and have already made progress.

 We aren’t waiting. We aren’t making caveats or exclusions. And we won’t be discouraged.

 But we can’t do it alone. 


The universal impact

Climate action must be universal. Just as climate change affects our global community, it will take a global commitment to achieve a net-zero future.

 Becoming net-zero requires extensive, comprehensive, and universal action.

 To define Milliken’s role in that universal action, we looked for a thorough, clear standard defined by proven climate science to guide our net-zero work. That’s how we found SBTi’s Net-Zero Standard.

 The Net-Zero Standard provides “rules of the road” for our global community as a universal approach to carbon accounting. There are a lot of net-zero paths out there, but this standard provides verification by and accountability to a third-party partner.

 We appreciate its reliance on the latest science, as science drives so much of what we do at Milliken. We also appreciate its work with all companies, large and small, across businesses and industries.

 If we are to avoid the worst impacts of climate change, it’s going to take all of us moving together and in collaboration with one another.

 It’s been inspiring to see what we’ve accomplished toward our net-zero targets in just a short time. We know we can continue this progress with the help of others. We are ready to help companies entering the net-zero arena. And while we don’t have all the answers, we have the ambition to figure it out.

 Becoming net-zero by 2050 is possible. And, at Milliken, we’re going to do our part, not only for ourselves, but for all of humankind.


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