Power Forward 4.0: A progress report of the Fortune 500's transition to a net-zero economy

A man working at solar power station
© Sonpichit Salangsing / Shutterstock© Sonpichit Salangsing / Shutterstock


Since 2012, The Power Forward report series has been analyzing climate and energy commitments among the largest US companies. The latest iteration, Power Forward 4.0, summarizes the climate commitments of the Fortune 500, demonstrating the steady growth in corporate climate action, new emerging trends, as well as the remaining gaps.

Key Findings:

  • 60% of Fortune 500 companies (2020) have set a climate or energy-related commitment. This represents a 12-percentage-point increase since Power Forward 3.0, published in 2017.
  • Science-based target setting has grown significantly, with 63 Fortune 500 companies (13%) having set targets approved by the Science Based Targets initiative, six times the number of companies that had done so in 2017.
  • The exciting and growing trend among companies is setting net-zero, carbon-neutral, or related commitments, with 83 (17%) of the Fortune 500 possessing such targets.
  • Ninety-four companies have set a goal to buy or invest in renewable energy, up from the 53 that had done so in Power Forward 3.0. Fifty-eight of the 94 companies possess 100% renewable energy targets.

The report assesses how different sectors compare in setting targets, company progress in achieving those climate commitments and engaging their climate-related value chain. Additionally, the report highlights that despite significant growth in voluntary target setting, gaps in corporate climate action remain:

  • 40% of the Fortune 500 do not have any type of public climate or energy-related target.
  • 400 companies (80%) of the Fortune 500 have neither set, nor officially committed to set, science-based targets through the Science Based Targets initiative.
  • Less than one in five Fortune 500 companies has a climate goal that covers scope 3.
  • The quality and credibility of certain net-zero or related claims remains uncertain.
  • Adoption of targets varies widely across industry sectors.

To drive more robust private sector action, this report provides key recommendations for companies and policy makers alike.

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For previous reports in the Power Forward series, please see: