‘Driving climate action, fast’: that’s Climate Group’s mission – and it’s an ambition that LeasePlan is 100% behind! This week marks the 14th edition of Climate Week NYC, the biggest global climate event of its kind. In 2022, the theme is Getting It Done, and on September 21, LeasePlan was proud to be at the heart of the action in New York.

Our live event, ‘Getting It Done: How to reach net zero with your fleet’, brought together leading experts from the field of sustainable mobility to discuss the role corporate fleets can play in helping businesses on their journey towards net-zero greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions. Don’t worry if you missed the live stream: scroll on for the main insights and a watch-back video!

But first, a look at the highlights from Climate Week NYC …

Businesses against plastic pollution

Ahead of the start of negotiations for a global plastics treaty (due to be in place by 2024), more than 80 companies outlined their vision on plastic pollution – including phasing out hard-to-recycle products and those most likely to end up in the environment. An official business coalition, led by the Ellen MacArthur Foundation and the WWF, will be launched later this year to help develop specific policy recommendations to tackle the plastic waste problem.

“If we really believe this is the decisive decade … we cannot pause, we cannot question, we cannot shift the momentum. … Until the economy is clean, it’s everybody’s problem.” Ali Zaidi, White House climate advisor, speaking during Climate Week NYC

Investing in our future

Elsewhere, at the 77th Session of the UN General Assembly, US President Joe Biden spoke about the Inflation Reduction Act, which will put $369bn dollars towards efforts to combat climate change. That includes investments in wind and solar power, clean manufacturing, energy efficiency and – of course – zero-emission vehicles!

The Climate Group's EV100

It’s the five-year anniversary of the founding of Climate Group’s electric mobility initiative, the EV100! To mark the milestone, three sustainability experts from major global brands got together during a special session to discuss how to steer the global market towards EVs – and of course to celebrate the progress so far, with 5.5 million EV vehicles pledged by 2030 …

… leading us nicely into the action from LeasePlan’s event!

How to reach net zero with your fleet

First up, we heard from Helen Clarkson, CEO of Climate Group, who explained why this Climate Week is about the move from commitments to action – focusing on accountability, urgency and justice. She spoke about the huge potential of the mobility sector to decarbonise fast, because, unlike other industries that are still developing the green technologies they need, mobility already has the high-quality tech to power the electrification transition.

Helen also discussed the long and fruitful relationship between LeasePlan and Climate Group – and especially the EV100 initiative, of which LeasePlan is a founding member.

“LeasePlan is a longstanding partner of ours, and we know the company is in a prime position to help fleets reach net zero”
“Every year, the extreme climate events mount up – and we’re shocked, but no longer surprised, by what we see in the news. Transport is an area where we really can make a difference, so it’s vital that we decarbonise this sector urgently.”
Helen Clarkson

Greener fleets for a healthier climate

Next, Maya Ben Dror, Industry Manager, Automotive & New Mobility at the World Economic Forum (WEF), explored the role of fleets in tackling climate change. The WEF’s mobility programme is centred on safe, clean and inclusive mobility systems, and decarbonisation is a critical part of that.

Moreover, Maya shared the WEF’s goal of reducing the number of cars on the road from 2.1bn to 0.5bn. “It’s a big challenge, but it would reduce passenger transport CO2 by 80% and free up room in cities for more green space,” she pointed out.

“There’s a risk that emissions from mobility could double by 2050 – but with electric fleets, we can mitigate 70% of urban mobility emissions. However, we need strong coordination between the private and public sectors to make our vision a success.” Maya Ben Dror

Best practices from the EV specialists

Our third expert guest was Fredrika Klarén, Head of Sustainability at Polestar. She agreed with Helen that measurable solutions to the green mobility problem already exist – “and not many industries can say that.” Nevertheless, with only 1.5% of global vehicles being electric in 2022, Polestar is pushing for greater acceleration of uptake. The key is stopping investments in legacy technology, and instead looking to the future.

For Polestar, that means delivering the world’s first climate-neutral car by 2030, with net-zero emissions at the factory gate and no carbon offsetting. ‘It’s not a sustainability project,” she explained. “R&D is where the magic happens. There are more than 30,000 components in scope, and for each one we’ll assess new, more sustainable materials together with our supply chain. Meanwhile, we’ll keep advocating for electric driving across the industry.”

“Transparency is essential. Today, it’s very difficult for OEMs to get the data they need from the supply chain. Polestar is trialling Blockchain to grow visibility on the footprint of the materials we use, like cobalt and leather – and, crucially, we’re passing that information on to our customers.” Fredrika Klarén

Introducing LeasePlan’s SBTs

Last but by no means least, we heard all about Science-Based Targets (SBTs) from Mike Lightfoot, LeasePlan’s Chief Corporate Affairs & Sustainability Officer. He introduced the concept of SBTs – a clear pathway for reducing a company’s scope 1, 2 and 3 emissions in line with the climate science and accredited by the SBTi – and discussed the importance for LeasePlan of committing to such targets. He even offered a sneak peek into LeasePlan’s new near-term SBTs …

Finally, Mike turned to the role of company fleets, explaining both how and why businesses should join the transition to sustainable mobility – and, of course, how LeasePlan can help. “It’s a complicated process, but we’re here to support your business,” he told the audience, “whether it’s with understanding your fleet baselines, setting out your SBT roadmap or getting your drivers behind the wheel of an EV!”

“SBTs are the new frontier in corporate sustainability. Electrifying your fleet can play a huge part in helping you achieve them – accounting for around 80% of emissions in the logistics industry and 20% for others.” Mike Lightfoot

Over to you

With the floor open for questions, our audience had the chance to put their queries to our speakers.

People can be emotionally attached to traditional brands and models. How can we convince them to switch to EVs?

FK: At Polestar, we do all we can to spread awareness of our values and inspire people. After all, it’s important for everyone to take responsibility for the green transition!

ML: From a fleet perspective, seeing is believing. Test drives are a great way to win people over and help them overcome any psychological barriers. Early adopters also have a role to play in advocating for EVs.

MBD: We also need to remember the first-time car owners: the biggest market in the car industry. To encourage these people to bypass ICE and choose an EV straight away, economic factors are important – not just the total cost of ownership, which we know is lower for EVs, but the initial outlay, which impacts people’s choices.

What’s the best way to get company leadership on board with setting SBTs?

ML: By bringing them the voices calling for action across your business. I’ve seen myself how functions all across LeasePlan have truly woken up to the net-zero challenge over the past five years, and that’s now happening at many organisations today.

FK: The business case for SBTs is clear. It’s a matter of life and death for companies (not to mention for our planet and its people) – so convincing leadership to commit to SBTs is about showing they’ll simply be left behind if they don’t act.

Which are the standout cities Getting It Done when it comes to net-zero transport?

MBD: London is home to some very successful carrot and stick low-emission policies, which have driven fleet managers to electrify faster. After all, if you can’t access the city, you can’t carry out your business! Then there’s an interesting zero-emission freight coalition between 14 cities in the Netherlands. And Los Angeles recently set up a very creative initiative that started out being voluntary but is quickly becoming more and more official. It’s great to see policies spreading to more and more parts of the world.

Until next time …

Has this wrap-up blog sharpened your appetite for more expert insights? Watch the full recording of the event below!

A big thank you to our brilliant speakers and, of course, to our wonderful audience. We’ll be back soon with another inspiring and enlightening event – but in the meantime, don’t forget to check out our full Route to Zero report, with all the details of our new SBTs.

Follow LeasePlan on social media

What’s next?