Race to Zero

The Race to Zero is a global UN-backed campaign to rally leadership and support from businesses, cities, regions, and investors for a healthy, resilient, and zero carbon recovery that prevents future threats, creates decent jobs and unlocks inclusive, sustainable growth.

What is net zero?

Net zero is achieved when no incremental greenhouse gases are added to the atmosphere. This means that carbon emissions are balanced with the removal of carbon from the atmosphere (e.g. by certified carbon capture, forests, etc.). According to the latest Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) report, we should aim to achieve net zero globally by 2050, at the latest, to avert climate disaster. For more information, read the UNFCCC Race to Zero campaign’s guide to net zero.

What is the Race to Zero?

The Race to Zero is a global UN-backed campaign to rally leadership and support from businesses, cities, regions, and investors for a healthy, resilient, and zero carbon recovery that prevents future threats, creates decent jobs and unlocks inclusive, sustainable growth. All members are committed to the same minimum requirements: halving emissions by 2030 and achieving net zero by 2050 at the very latest. They are also aligned to the same overarching meta-criteria: to pledge, plan, proceed and publish. This campaign focuses on mitigation, but the sister campaign, the Race to Resilience, focuses on climate adaptation.

Can offsets be included?

Race to Zero is not an offsetting campaign, members must prioritise absolute emissions reductions. The Race focusses on immediate abatement measures and does not accept counting offsets (e.g. avoided emissions) as part of emissions reduction targets. Offsetting is a measure that can only be taken minimally, once all reasonable measures have been made to reduce emissions. Further information on offsets can be found in The Oxford Principles for Net Zero Aligned Carbon Offsetting.

Who is in the Race to Zero?

Non-state actors - including companies, cities, regions, financial, educational and healthcare institutions - can join the campaign through key initiatives and networks. To date, 799 cities, 35 regions, 4,470 businesses, 220 of the biggest investors, and 731 Higher Education Institutions are involved in the Race to Zero, committing to achieve net zero carbon emissions by 2050 at the latest.


How do I join the Race to Zero?

The UNFCCC Fashion Industry Charter for Climate Action is an official fashion sector partner to the Race to Zero. For fashion companies who want to join the Race to Zero, we recommend joining via the Charter by signing the letter of commitment via contacting the UN Climate Change secretariat at Climatedialogues@unfccc.int. For additional information on this initiative and how to join, follow this link. Companies can also join the Race to Zero via the Science-Based Targets Initiative (SBTi), which supports private businesses in setting ambitious goals to reduce emissions, via the Business Ambition for 1.5°C initiative, a Race to Zero partner initiative for large businesses (>500 employees), or via the SME Climate Hub, a Race to Zero partner initiative that supports small and medium-sized enterprises (<500 employees).

What is COP26 and when will it take place?

COP26 is the 26th United Nations Climate Change Conference, which will be held in Glasgow, Scotland in partnership with Italy from 1st – 12th November 2021. At COP21 in 2015, the Paris Agreement was adopted, which aims to limit global warming to well below 2℃, ideally 1.5℃ above pre-industrial levels. In line with this Agreement, all signatory states, including both developed and developing countries, must reduce GHG emissions.

What is Fashion's Path to Net Zero?

COP26 is being considered as a decade-defining moment for change, against the widescale agreement that we are fast running out of time. The IPCC’s Sixth Report sent a stark message and has fueled the urgency in climate-related narrative. There are additional problems for countries that rely on the fashion and garment industry for their source of income; the reality is a majority of those in our global supply chains risk loss of livelihood from more downturn in demand. We are working on a 10-year strategy to enable the industry to reduce negative climate and societal impact in line with UN goals. The strategy will comprise adaptation of business models and working practices across the whole industry. Our Institute of Positive Fashion is working closely with industry and the community, looking at everything from climate and the environment, to working conditions.

Read the full brief here