What Are the Different Types of Climate Commitments?

As companies asses climate risks and opportunities, and develop their climate plans, they typically dedicate themselves to one or more specific targets. Bend recognizes three types of climate commitments —


Reduction commitments are always in relation to emissions in a baseline year (e.g. 'reduce total emissions 50%, relative to 2018 emissions levels'). Reduction commitments are independent of offsets — unlike Net Zero commitments, Reduction commitments are strictly aimed at reducing (vs. offsetting) emissions. Companies may have multiple reduction commitments simultaneously, e.g. a 50% reduction by 2025, and a 75% reduction by 2030.

[base year total emissions] × (1 - [reduction percentage]) = [target emissions]

Net Zero

Companies that set Net Zero targets (according to the Science Based Targets initiative) commit to first deeply reducing their emissions, and then purchasing enough high quality offsets to cover the remainder. Note: though offset disclosure practices are inconsistent and in need of better standards, ultimately the only valid Net Zero offsets are removal offsets, not avoidance offsets.

[total emissions] - [an equivalent amount of purchased offsets] = Net Zero emissions

Absolute Zero

An Absolute Zero commitment is the equivalent of a 100% Reduction commitment. Companies that set Absolute Zero commitments aim to eliminate all emissions, without relying on any offsets to meet their goal. This type of commitment is extremely ambitious — nearly impossible with today's technology — but we include it for completeness; 'Absolute Zero' is the ultimate emissions goal.

[total emissions] = 0

Other Types of Commitments

Currently, Bend does not recognize any climate commitments beyond the three types defined above (Net Zero, Reduction, and Absolute Zero). In the past, companies would sometimes make climate commitments that targeted only Scope 1 and Scope 2 emissions. Bend doesn't recognize these commitments because we believe that without including the all-important supply chain footprint (Scope 3), this type of goal can too easily be misinterpreted. In our opinion, the only valid commitments — and the only commitments published here — address a company's entire footprint, including all Scope 3 emissions.

Did this answer your question? Thanks for the feedback There was a problem submitting your feedback. Please try again later.