21 October 2021 • 5 min

Markus Hauser

Supporting Businesses in Setting Ambitious Net Zero Commitments

By Markus Hauser, Head of Inward Investment Austria, Department for International Trade (DIT)

As the host of COP26 in Glasgow, the British government has set itself ambitious climate targets and strives to be a pioneer in climate action, while at the same time enabling sustainable growth. Businesses have an essential role to play in this context, operating in uncertain times and environments, seeking to secure jobs and remain profitable and at the same time becoming CO2 neutral or even CO2 negative. Can this work? 


Europe and the UK are Key Partners for Delivering Net Zero by 2050

European companies account for almost 40% of all global Race to Zero pledgesAcknowledging the competitive advantage of companies that engage in corporate climate action, the UK`s Department for International Trade (DIT) is aiming to attract more investment into the UK from innovative and future-oriented companies. Due to its business friendly environment, the UK presents a wealth of opportunity for companies providing low-carbon technologies, systems and processes in the power, construction  and industrial sectors. In order to continuously tackle climate change, the UK government is supporting R&D and innovation through the £1 billion Net Zero Innovation Portfolio, announced in the Prime Minister’s Ten Point Plan for a Green Industrial Revolution, as well as the forthcoming Net Zero Strategy.



Note: Number of companies that have set emissions reduction targets through the Science Based Targets initiative (SBTi)
Source: SBTi, Status as of September 8th 2021

Supporting Austrian companies with their Race To Zero Ambitions

As only 16 Austrian companies have thus far committed themselves to the Race To Zero, out of which 9 have an approved Science Based Target (SBT), the UK’s DIT Austria team organised a workshop series with the aim to support companies in becoming net zero, as well as helping to develop credible short-term action plans, which seek to make supply chains greener and to help build-back better. The workshops were hosted by denkstatt, a leading sustainability advisory company. Through the 3-part workshop series, we encouraged businesses to lead by example, by joining the Race To Zero and setting an SBT.

Source: denkstatt

The Participants

More than 100 registrations, and a consistent active participant rate of 60+ companies throughout the two and a half hour workshops highlighted the increasing interest of companies in this topic. According to our participants, the main drivers in becoming more sustainable are customer demand, intrinsic motivation and changes in regulations. The participants were from diverse sectors such as Advanced Manufacturing, Food & Drink, Financial Services, Automotive, Construction and Life Sciences, highlighting the importance of clean growth across sectors.


Key Lessons Learned

The majority of companies participated in the workshops to get practical tips, best practice examples and concrete ideas on how to start implementing a corporate climate strategy. This is in line with the general notion that there is a gap between policy objectives and actual practice. This gap, as seen in the graph below, can be filled by voluntary strategies and proactive initiatives by businesses that can make an important and essential contribution to fighting climate change. DIT Austria strives to work closely with businesses who recognize the opportunities that clean growth presents, supporting investment decisions to attract innovative companies to the UK, strengthening the clean growth market as well as sharing the best of our collective creative solutions.

Source: Climate Action Tracker

Are you an Austrian Company Interested in Strengthening your Climate Ambition Profile? The DIT Austria Team is ready to assist you with amplifying your net zero ambitions publicly as well as supporting you with everything you need to know to grow your business in the UK. So get in touch with us, we are looking forward to speaking with you.