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Hungary’s business sector must make a greater effort to reach carbon neutrality

For the first time, research has been conducted on the status quo of the Hungarian business sector in relation to carbon-neutral operations. The picture is not so bright: although 31 per cent of leading companies already have net zero emissions targets, this figure is below the international benchmarks and below the level required for real change, according to the Towards Net Zero research of the Hungarian Business Council for Sustainable Development (BCSDH), with the professional support of consultancy firm Deloitte.

Achieving net-zero emissions is a major challenge of our time and the research presented at the Net Zero Ambitions Forum, co-organised by BCSDH and the British Embassy, can create a basis for the next steps.

Source: BCSDH

“This is the first time in Hungary that a survey has been conducted about the carbon neutrality aspirations and challenges of companies,” said Irén Márta, Director of BCSDH, in her introduction. “The results of such timely and valuable research serve as an important guide to defining the most urgent tasks, such as the recognition of the opportunities created by financing and of reducing and measuring greenhouse gases. It provides guidance on how the transition between the current situation and achieving the desired net-zero operations can be accelerated with existing tools.”

Sixty per cent of the companies that were surveyed have emission reduction policies and 30 per cent plan to have one in the next five years. Only 10 per cent said they did not even plan such measures. However, only 50 per cent of companies have a specific target for reducing greenhouse gas emissions.

“It’s good to see that BCSDH member companies are at the forefront of setting climate-related goals, but our job is to mobilise a wider business community,” commented Attila Chikán Jr, President of BCSDH. “Every company is affected by climate change, and every company has the opportunity to positively influence it. The goal is no longer just reducing greenhouse gas emissions but achieving net-zero emissions. Research has shown that there is a high level of uncertainty, a lack of knowledge and often an inadequate allocation of resources within companies. By presenting opportunities and good examples in this area, BCSDH can support its member companies and the wider business environment.”

“Accelerating the transition to net-zero operations requires a broader partnership that includes government and legislative support, and the Net Zero Advisory Board we launched in January can help with this,” he added.

Research has also shown that in order for companies to set real net-zero targets, they need to take big steps in terms of measuring emissions and introducing an internal price for carbon, read the British Embassy’s press statement. For those who are just starting the process, reducing waste, investing in energy efficiency, switching to renewable energy and increasing resource efficiency can be the first steps. But it is important to emphasise that companies need to go much further than this to create a real net zero-emission economy in Hungary by 2050.

“As hosts of the COP26, the UK is working with businesses, governments and civil society to drive action across key sectors of the economy to reduce emissions, adapt to the effects of climate change and strengthen resilience, while also striving to build back better as we recover from the COVID-19 pandemic”- highlighted Paul Fox, British ambassador, member of the Net Zero Advisory Board.

Among the leading companies included in the research, manufacturing company Daikin aims to achieve zero net emissions by 2050 by using more energy-efficient, less environmentally damaging technology to create products with longer life cycles. By 2030, all of E.On’s buildings will be carbon neutral and its fleet will be electric. The utility group has undertaken to reduce its carbon emissions by 30 per cent by 2030 and achieve a 50 per cent reduction in terms of customers’ emissions. Banking group K&H will operate in a climate-neutral manner from 2021, reducing greenhouse gases by 80 per cent and switching to 100 per cent green electricity by 2030. Finally, also multinational food and drink processing corporation Nestlé is committed to achieve net-zero emissions by 2050, through the use of renewable energy, an electric car fleet and the introduction of new technologies, packaging materials and recipes.

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