Cummins Inc. has taken another step forward in its efforts to advocate for climate action.
The company has been accepted into two influential groups promoting climate action ahead of the global COP26 climate summit in Glasgow, Scotland (U.K.) starting Oct. 31. The Business Ambition for 1.5°C encourages companies to set robust emission reduction goals for greenhouse gases (GHGs) using science-based targets aligned to the 2015 Paris Climate Accords.
As a member of that group, the company has automatically been accepted into the United Nations’ Race to Zero, a global campaign to rally leadership and support from businesses, investors, cities and regions for climate action.
It’s a natural alliance. Cummins worked with the Science Based Targets initiative (SBTi) in developing the company’s PLANET 2050 environmental strategy released in 2019. The strategy includes 2030 goals aligned to targets established in the Paris Climate Accords, and the aspiration to reach net zero emissions by 2050.
The company also advocates for climate action through its participation with a number of groups, including the CEO Climate Dialogue, the Business Roundtable, the International Council on Clean Transportation and the global Hydrogen Council. Cummins Chairman and CEO Tom Linebarger serves as Co-Chair of the Hydrogen Council.
Linebarger says the world’s climate challenges threaten Cummins’ mission of making people’s lives better by powering a more prosperous world.
“Climate change is the existential crisis of our time and the biggest threat to our mission as an organization,” Linebarger said. “So, we want to dedicate our innovation, our talent, our resources, and our investments to reduce our impact on the climate. Of course, we have a lot of other challenges to address at the same time to fulfill the needs of our stakeholders, but if we don’t address climate change, there will be nothing else to do.”
A TRACK RECORD OF ACTION
Cummins combines its advocacy with a long record of working to reduce the environmental impact of the company’s core products such as diesel and natural gas engines. Since the 1990s, for example, the emission of two key contributors to smog from diesel engines, particulate matter and nitrogen oxides, have been reduced by more than 95%. Facility goals between 2014 and 2020, meanwhile, produced GHG savings at Cummins equivalent to removing more than 100,000 cars from the road for a year.
The company has also been a leader in bringing to market low- and no-carbon power technologies such as battery and fuel cell electric. Those technologies are powering a growing number of vehicles such as school buses as well as the world’s first hydrogen-powered passenger train. Cummins is also a leading manufacturer of electrolyzers to produce green hydrogen, a promising fuel for decarbonization. The company is now partnering on projects involving that technology with Spain-based Iberdrola, a global leader in no- and low-carbon energy production.
Looking ahead, Cummins’ PLANET 2050 strategy includes two approved science-based targets timed to 2030. One is to reduce absolute GHG emissions from Cummins’ facilities and operations (scopes 1 and 2) by 50%, which is consistent with keeping global warming to 1.5°C above pre-industrial levels. The other is an absolute lifetime reduction in the company’s scope 3 GHG emissions from newly sold products by 25%. Scope 3 emissions include emissions from a product in use by a customer.
A GROWING VOICE FOR CHANGE
Acceptance into Business Ambition for 1.5°C extends the company’s reach on the advocacy front. Since launching two years ago more than 650 companies from around the world have joined the campaign with a combined market capitalization of $13 trillion. Other members include Apple, General Motors, Johnson & Johnson, and Volvo.
The Race to Zero campaign has built a coalition of more than 3,000 businesses, more than 700 cities, more than 600 institutions of higher education and more than 150 investors supporting net-zero initiatives around the world.
Alberto Carrillo Pineda, Managing Director of the Science Based Targets initiative, one of the partners in Business Ambition for 1.5°C, said it is critical to take action now.
“There is no time to lose,” Pineda said. “The transformation to a net-zero economy is unavoidable. …To stand a fighting chance of maintaining a habitable planet, we urgently need more companies to act on climate science and to decarbonize our economy.”
To learn more about Cummins' sustainability efforts, check out the company's Sustainability and ESG web pages.