Automotive giant Nissan has been hailed for showing leadership in the UK’s transition to net zero after signing up to a United Nations climate change campaign.
Nissan has become the first Japanese car maker to joined the Race to Zero campaign supported by the United Nations.
The firm, which employs more than 6,000 people at its Sunderland plant as well as four times that number through the UK supply chain, said the move accelerates the company’s full electrification and carbon neutrality goals.
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Nissan has also signed the campaign’s Business Ambition for 1.5°C commitment, aligning Nissan with the goal to keep global temperature rise to 1.5°C above pre-industrial levels.
The firm has joined the Science Based Targets initiative (SBTi), a requirement for participation in the campaign. Nissan’s well below 2°C carbon reduction targets have been validated by the SBTi, ensuring that they are aligned to climate science.
The move follows a recent announcement of 1,600 jobs at Nissan and its battery partner Envision AESC with the production of a new electric vehicle at Sunderland, together with development of a ‘microgrid’ run in partnership with Sunderland City Council exclusively on renewable energy to power the entire production process.
Nissan pledged to achieve carbon neutrality across its operations and the life cycle of its products by 2050, and will accelerate these efforts through initiatives including EV36Zero, the manufacturing blueprint combining electric vehicle production, battery manufacturing and renewable energy generation.
Its gigafactory plans come more than 10 years after the Wearside plant launched the Leaf, the world’s first mass-market electric vehicle.
COP26 president designate Alok Sharma said: “It is fantastic to see Nissan join the Race to Zero.
“They are the first Japanese vehicle manufacturer to sign up and through their manufacturing of batteries in North East England for electric cars, are demonstrating real leadership in the transition to net zero across the UK.”
Nissan president and CEO Makoto Uchida said: “Through joining the SBTi and participating in these campaigns, we are renewing our determination to work with like-minded companies and local governments around the world to solve the challenges of climate change and realize a sustainable society.
“To accelerate global efforts to achieve carbon neutrality, Nissan will continue to address various issues in a responsible manner, including further promotion of electrification. Also at Nissan we are determined to fulfil our role as a company that will continue to be needed by our stakeholders in the future.”
Alberto Carrillo Pineda, managing director and co-founder of SBTi said: “Bold and urgent action is needed to limit the worst effects of climate breakdown and unlock a sustainable future for us all. As the first Japanese automaker to commit to the Business Ambition for 1.5°C campaign, Nissan is joining more than 700 companies worldwide in working towards the most ambitious and robust science-based emissions reduction targets.
“By aligning with climate science, Nissan is making a clear declaration that it is ready and willing to play its part in achieving the Paris Agreement. All other companies worldwide must take immediate action to increase their climate ambitions and support the global economy to significantly reduce emissions and achieve net-zero before 2050.”
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