Visualized: The Climate Targets of Fortune 500 Companies
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Visualizing the Climate Targets of Fortune 500 Companies

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Fortune 500 Climate Commitments

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Visualized: The Climate Targets of Fortune 500 Companies

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The Fortune Global 500 is a ranking of the world’s 500 largest companies by revenue. In 2019, this influential group employed 70 million people and generated revenues of over $33 trillion.

Given their size and influence, many of these companies are taking climate action quite seriously. For example, 30% of the group have either achieved a climate goal or are publicly committed to doing so by 2030—a significant increase from just 6% in 2016.

In this infographic, we’ve used data from Natural Capital Partners to provide a holistic view of when Fortune Global 500 companies plan to meet their stated climate goals.

Climate Action Takes Several Forms

When taking climate action, businesses have a variety of targets they can pursue. Three of the most common ones include carbon neutrality, RE100, and science based targets (SBT).

Climate target typeDescription
Carbon neutralAchieved when a company completely offsets its greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions.
RE100Achieved when a company relies on 100% renewable energy.
Science based targets (SBT) Emissions are reduced in line with the need to keep global warming below 2ºC.

After choosing a target, businesses can also set a date for when they intend to achieve it. As the above graphic shows, many companies are targeting 2030, a year that is frequently touted as a deadline for meeting the goals of the Paris Agreement.

A fourth target known as “net zero emissions” is also used, though its exact definition tends to vary. For the purposes of this infographic, we’ve considered a commitment to net zero emissions to be the same as achieving carbon neutrality.

A Complete Overview

The following table summarizes the climate actions of Fortune Global 500 companies. Firms that made commitments without a target date have been noted in the table with a “C”.

Company NameHeadquartersCarbon Neutral (target date)RE100 (target date)SBT (target date)
Commonwealth Bank of Australia🇦🇺Australia2030
Westpac Banking🇦🇺Australia20132025
Woolworths Group🇦🇺AustraliaC
Anheuser-Busch InBev🇧🇪Belgium20252025
Banco Bradesco🇧🇷Brazil2019
Banco do Brasil🇧🇷Brazil2019
Caixa Econômica Federal🇧🇷Brazil2018
Vale🇧🇷Brazil2050
Bank of Montreal🇨🇦Canada2010
Royal Bank of Canada🇨🇦Canada2017
Toronto-Dominion Bank🇨🇦Canada2010
Lenovo Group🇨🇳China2030
Xiamen ITG Holding Group🇨🇳ChinaC
Maersk Group🇩🇰Denmark2050
Nokia🇫🇮Finland2030
Auchan Holding🇫🇷France
AXA🇫🇷France2025
BNP Paribas🇫🇷France2017
Carrefour🇫🇷France2030
CMA CGM🇫🇷France2050
Crédit Agricole🇫🇷FranceC
Danone🇫🇷France205020302030
Electricité de France🇫🇷France2050
Engie🇫🇷France2030
L'Oréal🇫🇷France20202027
La Poste🇫🇷France201220202025
Michelin🇫🇷France2030
Orange🇫🇷France2040
Renault🇫🇷France2030
Saint-Gobain🇫🇷France2025
Sanofi🇫🇷France2030
Schneider Electric🇫🇷France202520302030
Siemens🇫🇷France2030
Société Générale🇫🇷FranceC
Veolia Environnement🇫🇷France2034
Vinci🇫🇷France2050
Adidas🇩🇪Germany2050
Allianz🇩🇪Germany20122023
Bayer🇩🇪Germany2030
BMW Group🇩🇪Germany2050
Bosch Group🇩🇪Germany2020
Continental🇩🇪Germany20402030
Daimler🇩🇪Germany2039
Deutsche Bahn🇩🇪Germany20502030
Deutsche Bank🇩🇪Germany2013
Deutsche Post DHL Group🇩🇪Germany2050
Deutsche Telekom🇩🇪Germany205020212030
E.ON🇩🇪Germany2040
Metro🇩🇪Germany2030
Munich Re Group🇩🇪Germany2015
SAP🇩🇪Germany202520142025
ThyssenKrupp🇩🇪Germany2030
Uniper🇩🇪Germany2035
Volkswagen🇩🇪Germany2050
ZF Friedrichshafen🇩🇪Germany2040
State Bank of India🇮🇳India2030
Tata Motors🇮🇳India2030
Accenture🇮🇪Ireland20232025
CRH🇮🇪Ireland2050
Johnson Controls International🇮🇪IrelandC
Enel🇮🇹Italy20502030
ENI🇮🇹Italy2030
AEON🇯🇵Japan205020302027
Dai-ichi Life Holdings🇯🇵Japan2050
Daiwa House Industry🇯🇵Japan20402030
Fujitsu🇯🇵Japan20502030
Hitachi🇯🇵JapanC
Mitsubishi Electric🇯🇵Japan2030
NEC🇯🇵Japan20502030
Nissan Motor🇯🇵Japan2050
Panasonic🇯🇵Japan20502030
Sompo Holdings🇯🇵JapanC
Sony🇯🇵Japan20402020
Sumitomo Electric Industries🇯🇵Japan2050
Takeda Pharmaceutical🇯🇵Japan20192025
Tokio Marine Holdings🇯🇵Japan2011
Toshiba🇯🇵Japan
Toyota Motor🇯🇵Japan2050
América Móvil🇲🇽Mexico2050
Achmea🇳🇱Netherlands2011
Aegon🇳🇱Netherlands2016
Heineken Holding🇳🇱NetherlandsC
ING Group🇳🇱Netherlands20072020
Equinor🇳🇴Norway2030
Anglo American🇿🇦South Africa2040
Hyundai Motor🇰🇷South Korea2050
LG Electronics🇰🇷South Korea2030
Banco Bilbao Vizcaya Argentaria🇪🇸Spain20202030
Banco Santander🇪🇸Spain2020
Iberdrola🇪🇸Spain20502030
Inditex🇪🇸SpainC
Mapfre Group🇪🇸Spain2030
Naturgy Energy Group🇪🇸SpainC
Telefónica🇪🇸Spain203020302025
Volvo🇸🇪Sweden2025
ABB🇨🇭Switzerland2018
Adecco Group🇨🇭Switzerland2030
Coop Group🇨🇭Switzerland2023
Credit Suisse Group🇨🇭Switzerland20102025
LafargeHolcim🇨🇭Switzerland2030
Migros Group🇨🇭SwitzerlandC
Nestlé🇨🇭Switzerland2020
Novartis🇨🇭Switzerland20252030
Swiss Re🇨🇭Switzerland20032020
Zurich Insurance Group🇨🇭Switzerland20142022
Fubon Financial Holding🇹🇼TaiwanC
PTT🇹🇭ThailandC
Aviva🇬🇧UK20062025
Barclays🇬🇧UK2030
British American Tobacco🇬🇧UK20302028
BT Group🇬🇧UK20202030
Compass Group🇬🇧UKC
GlaxoSmithKline🇬🇧UK20502027
HSBC Holdings🇬🇧UK2030
J. Sainsbury🇬🇧UK2040
Linde🇬🇧UKC
Phoenix Group Holdings🇬🇧UK2030
Tesco🇬🇧UK205020302027
Unilever🇬🇧UK20202030
Vodafone Group🇬🇧UK2025
3M🇺🇸USA2050
Alphabet🇺🇸USA20072017
Amazon.com🇺🇸USA204020252040
American Express🇺🇸USA2018
Anthem🇺🇸USA2025
Apple🇺🇸USA20202020
AT&T🇺🇸USA2028
Bank of America🇺🇸USA20202020
Best Buy🇺🇸USA20502030
Capital One Financial🇺🇸USA20182019
Cisco Systems🇺🇸USA2022
Citigroup🇺🇸USA2020
Coca-Cola🇺🇸USA2030
CVS Health🇺🇸USA2028
Dell Technologies🇺🇸USA20402020
Delta Air Lines🇺🇸USA2020
Dow🇺🇸USA2050
Facebook🇺🇸USA2020
Ford Motor🇺🇸USA2050
General Motors🇺🇸USA2050
Goldman Sachs Group🇺🇸USA20152020
Hewlett Packard Enterprise🇺🇸USA2025
HP🇺🇸USA20352025
Intel🇺🇸USA2030
Johnson & Johnson🇺🇸USA2050
JPMorgan Chase🇺🇸USA2020
Lowe's🇺🇸USA2025
MetLife🇺🇸USA2016
Microsoft🇺🇸USA201220172030
Mondelez International🇺🇸USA2025
Morgan Stanley🇺🇸USA20222022
Nike🇺🇸USA20252030
PepsiCo🇺🇸USA2030
Pfizer🇺🇸USA2020
Philip Morris International🇺🇸USA20502030
Procter & Gamble🇺🇸USA203020302030
Schlumberger🇺🇸USAC
Starbucks🇺🇸USA2020
Target🇺🇸USA20302028
Tyson Foods🇺🇸USA2030
Verizon Communications🇺🇸USA2035
Walmart🇺🇸USA20252027
Wells Fargo🇺🇸USA20192020

Note: This data was aggregated from various sources throughout 2020, and as a result, may not include the latest climate commitments announced by companies within the Fortune Global 500.

As of October 2020, 163 companies from the Fortune Global 500 have publicly committed to achieving at least one of these climate targets. That represents 32.6% of the total group.

The most common target is carbon neutrality, which has 91 companies on board. In second place is science based targets (SBT), which has 74 companies committed—of those, 16 have not declared a target date. RE100 was the least common, with 56 companies committed. Because some companies are committed to multiple targets, these figures add to more than 163.

Climate Action is on the Rise

Private-sector awareness around climate change and other sustainability issues has gained strong momentum in recent years.

Since 2011, the number of S&P 500 companies publishing sustainability reports increased from 20% in 2011, to 90% in 2019. This was likely due to investor demand and a broader acceptance of environmental, social, and governance (ESG) criteria.

Governments around the world are also taking a more proactive approach to climate action. The Biden administration, for example, seeks to make a $2 trillion investment to help a variety of U.S. industries become more sustainable.

“We have the opportunity to build a more resilient, sustainable economy – one that will put the United States on an irreversible path to achieve net-zero emissions…by no later than 2050.”
– Biden-Harris campaign

America’s goal of reaching net-zero emissions by 2050 is shared with a handful of other advanced economies, including Japan and the EU. The UK has taken these pledges one step further, becoming the first G7 country to pass a law that requires itself to bring emissions to net zero by 2050.

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The World’s 25 Largest Lakes, Side by Side

This unique map graphic uses the Great Lakes region as a point of comparison for the top 25 largest lakes in the world.

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The World’s 25 Largest Lakes, Side by Side

In many parts of the world, you don’t have to look very far to find a lake.

According to satellite data, there are roughly 100 million lakes larger than one hectare (2.47 acres) to be found globally. The largest lakes, which rival the size of entire nations, are more of a rarity.

One might expect the world’s largest lakes to be very alike, but from depth to saline content, their properties can be quite different. As well, the ranking of the world’s largest lakes is far from static, as human activity can turn a massive body of water into a desert within a single generation.

Today’s graphic – created using the fantastic online tool, Slap It On A Map! – uses the Great Lakes region as a point of comparison for the largest 25 lakes, by area. This is particularly useful in comparing the scale of lakes that are located in disparate parts of the globe.

The Greatest Lakes

The largest lake in the world by a long shot is the Caspian Sea – a name that hints at a past when it was contiguous with the ocean around 11 million years ago. This massive saline lake, which is nearly the same size as Japan, borders five countries: Kazakhstan, Russia, Turkmenistan, Azerbaijan, and Iran. An estimated 48 billion barrels of oil lay beneath the surface of the basin.

The five Great Lakes, which run along the Canada–U.S. border, form one of the largest collections of fresh water on Earth. This interconnected series of lakes represents around 20% of the world’s fresh water and the region supports over 100 million people, roughly equal to one-third of the Canada–U.S. population.

Amazingly, a single lake holds as much fresh water as all the Great Lakes combined – Lake Baikal. This rift lake in Siberia has a maximum depth of 5,371ft (1,637m). For comparison, the largest of the Great Lakes (Lake Superior) is only 25% as deep, with a maximum depth of 1,333ft (406m). Lake Baikal is unique in a number of other ways too. It is the world’s oldest, coldest lake, and around 80% of its animal species are endemic (not found anywhere else).

Here’s a full run-down of the top 25 lakes by area:

RankLake NameSurface AreaTypeCountries on shoreline
1Caspian Sea143,000 sq mi
(371,000km²)
Saline🇰🇿 Kazakhstan
🇷🇺 Russia
🇹🇲 Turkmenistan
🇦🇿 Azerbaijan
🇮🇷 Iran
2Superior31,700 sq mi
(82,100km²)
Freshwater🇨🇦 Canada
🇺🇸 U.S.
3Victoria26,590 sq mi
(68,870km²)
Freshwater🇺🇬 Uganda
🇰🇪 Kenya
🇹🇿 Tanzania
4Huron23,000 sq mi
(59,600km²)
Freshwater🇨🇦 Canada
🇺🇸 U.S.
5Michigan22,000 sq mi
(58,000km²)
Freshwater🇺🇸 U.S.
6Tanganyika12,600 sq mi
(32,600km²)
Freshwater🇧🇮 Burundi
🇹🇿 Tanzania
🇿🇲 Zambia
🇨🇩 D.R.C.
7Baikal12,200 sq mi
(31,500km²)
Freshwater🇷🇺 Russia
8Great Bear Lake12,000 sq mi
(31,000km²)
Freshwater🇨🇦 Canada
9Malawi11,400 sq mi
(29,500km²)
Freshwater🇲🇼 Malawi
🇲🇿 Mozambique
🇹🇿 Tanzania
10Great Slave Lake10,000 sq mi
(27,000km²)
Freshwater🇨🇦 Canada
11Erie9,900 sq mi
(25,700km²)
Freshwater🇨🇦 Canada
🇺🇸 U.S.
12Winnipeg9,465 sq mi
(24,514km²)
Freshwater🇨🇦 Canada
13Ontario7,320 sq mi
(18,960km²)
Freshwater🇨🇦 Canada
🇺🇸 U.S.
14Ladoga7,000 sq mi
(18,130km²)
Freshwater🇷🇺 Russia
15Balkhash6,300 sq mi
(16,400km²)
Saline🇰🇿 Kazakhstan
16Vostok4,800 sq mi
(12,500km²)
Freshwater🇦🇶 Antarctica
17Onega3,700 sq mi
(9,700km²)
Freshwater🇷🇺 Russia
18Titicaca3,232 sq mi
(8,372km²)
Freshwater🇧🇴 Bolivia
🇵🇪 Peru
19Nicaragua3,191 sq mi
(8,264km²)
Freshwater🇳🇮 Nicaragua
20Athabasca3,030 sq mi
(7,850km²)
Freshwater🇨🇦 Canada
21Taymyr2,700 sq mi
(6,990km²)
Freshwater🇷🇺 Russia
22Turkana2,473 sq mi
(6,405km²)
Saline🇰🇪 Kenya
🇪🇹 Ethiopia
23Reindeer Lake2,440 sq mi
(6,330km²)
Freshwater🇨🇦 Canada
24Issyk-Kul2,400 sq mi
(6,200km²)
Saline🇰🇬 Kyrgyzstan
25Urmia2,317 sq mi
(6,001km²)
Saline🇮🇷 Iran

The Great Lakes World Tour

For people living in Canada and the U.S., the shape and relative size of the Great Lakes system may be quite familiar. This makes the Great Lakes a fantastic point of comparison to help put the size of other world locations into perspective. To this end, we begin our Great Lakes World Tour.

First, the image below shows how the Great Lakes system would look if it was located in India.

great lakes compared with india

Distortions on commonly used maps can downplay the size of India compared to more northern nations. This view of the Great Lakes can help put India’s true size into perspective.

Next, we look at the Great Lakes overlaid within Central Europe.

great lakes compared with europe

In the context of Europe, the lakes are so large that they extend from the Netherlands over to Slovakia. Lake Superior’s surface area of 31,700 mi2 (82,000 km2), is similar in size to Austria. Here’s are the five Great Lakes and European countries of equivalent size:

Great LakesSurface AreaEquivalent CountryArea
Lake Superior82,000 km2 (31,700 sq mi)🇦🇹 Austria83,879 km2 (32,386 sq mi)
Lake Huron60,000 km2 (23,000 sq mi)🇱🇻 Latvia64,589 km2 (24,938 sq mi)
Lake Michigan58,000 km2 (22,300 sq mi)🇭🇷 Croatia56,594 km2 (21,851 sq mi)
Lake Erie25,700 km2 (9,910 sq mi)🇲🇰 North Macedonia25,713 km2 (9,928 sq mi)
Lake Ontario19,000 km2 (7,340 sq mi)🇸🇮 Slovenia20,271 km2 (7,827 sq mi)

Lastly, here is a look at the Great Lakes in Southern Australia. Australia is the world’s 6th largest country, so the Great Lakes only occupy one corner of its land mass.

great lakes compared with Australia

Australia’s lack of glacial history means that there are few permanent freshwater lakes in the country. Many of the country’s largest lakes only fill up during periods of excessive rainfall.

Shrinking out of the rankings

Not far from the world’s largest lake, straddling the border between Kazakhstan and Uzbekistan, lay the sand dunes of the Aralkum Desert. In the not so distant past, this harsh environment was actually the bed of one of the largest lakes in the world – the Aral Sea.

Aral Sea receding 1960 2020

For reasons both climatic and anthropogenic, the Aral Sea began receding in the 1960s. This dramatic change in surface area took the Aral Sea from the fourth largest lake on Earth to not even ranking in the top 50. Researchers note that the size of the lake has fluctuated a lot over history, but through the lens of modern history these recent changes happened rapidly, leaving local economies devastated and former shoreside towns landlocked.

Lake Chad, in Saharan Africa, and Lake Urmia, in Iran, both face similar challenges, shrinking dramatically in recent decades.

How we work to reverse damage and avoid ecosystem collapse in vulnerable lakes will have a big influence on how the top 25 list may look in future years.

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All the Biomass of Earth, in One Graphic

Our planet supports nearly 8.7 million species. We break down the total composition of the living world in terms of its biomass.

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All the Biomass of Earth, in One Graphic

Our planet supports approximately 8.7 million species, of which over a quarter live in water.

But humans can have a hard time comprehending numbers this big, so it can be difficult to really appreciate the breadth of this incredible diversity of life on Earth.

In order to fully grasp this scale, we draw from research by Bar-On et al. to break down the total composition of the living world, in terms of its biomass, and where we fit into this picture.

Why Carbon?

A “carbon-based life form” might sound like something out of science fiction, but that’s what we and all other living things are.

Carbon is used in complex molecules and compounds—making it an essential part of our biology. That’s why biomass, or the mass of organisms, is typically measured in terms of carbon makeup.

In our visualization, one cube represents 1 million metric tons of carbon, and every thousand of these cubes is equal to 1 Gigaton (Gt C).

Here’s how the numbers stack up in terms of biomass of life on Earth:

TaxonMass (Gt C)% of total
Plants45082.4%
Bacteria7012.8%
Fungi122.2%
Archaea71.3%
Protists40.70%
Animals2.5890.47%
Viruses0.20.04%
Total545.8100.0%

Plants make up the overwhelming majority of biomass on Earth. There are 320,000 species of plants, and their vital photosynthetic processes keep entire ecosystems from falling apart.

Fungi is the third most abundant type of life—and although 148,000 species of fungi have been identified by scientists, it’s estimated there may be millions more.

Animals: A Drop in the Biomass Ocean

Although animals make up only 0.47% of all biomass, there are many sub-categories within them that are worth exploring further.

TaxonMass (Gt C)% of Animal Biomass
Arthropods (Marine)1.038.6%
Fish0.727.0%
Arthropods (Terrestrial)0.27.7%
Annelids0.27.7%
Mollusks0.27.7%
Livestock0.13.9%
Cnidarians0.13.9%
Humans0.062.3%
Nematodes0.020.8%
Wild mammals0.0070.3%
Wild birds0.0020.1%
Animals (Total)2.589100.0%

Arthropods

Arthropods are the largest group of invertebrates, and include up to 10 million species across insects, arachnids, and crustaceans.

Chordates

The category of chordates includes wild mammals, wild birds, livestock, humans, and fish. Across 65,000 living species in total, nearly half are bony fish like piranhas, salmon, or seahorses.

Surprisingly, humans contribute a relatively small mass compared to the rest of the Animal Kingdom. People make up only 0.01% of all the biomass on the planet.

Annelids, Mollusks, Cnidarians, and Nematodes

Annelids are segmented worms like earthworms or leeches, with over 22,000 living species on this planet. After arthropods, mollusks are the second-largest group of invertebrates with over 85,000 living species. Of these, 80% are snails and slugs.

Cnidarians are a taxon of aquatic invertebrates covering 11,000 species across various marine environments. These include jellyfish, sea anemone, and even corals.

Nematodes are commonly referred to as roundworms. These sturdy critters have successfully adapted to virtually every kind of ecosystem, from polar regions to oceanic trenches. They’ve even survived traveling into space and back.

The Microscopic Rest

Beyond these animals, plants, and fungi, there are an estimated trillion species of microbes invisible to the naked eye—and we’ve probably only discovered 0.001% of them so far.

Bacteria

Bacteria were one of the first life forms to appear on Earth, and classified as prokaryotes (nucleus-less). Today, they’re the second-largest composition of biomass behind plants. Perhaps this is because these organisms can be found living literally everywhere—from your gut to deep in the Earth’s crust.

Researchers at the University of Georgia estimate that there are 5 nonillion bacteria on the planet—that’s a five with 30 zeros after it.

Protists and Archaea

Protists are mostly unicellular, but are more complex than bacteria as they contain a nucleus. They’re also essential components of the food chain.

Archaea are single-celled microorganisms that are similar to bacteria but differ in compositions. They thrive in extreme environments too, from high temperatures above 100°C (212°F) in geysers to extremely saline, acidic, or alkaline conditions.

Viruses

Viruses are the most fascinating category of biomass. They have been described as “organisms at the edge of life,” as they are not technically living things. They’re much smaller than bacteria—however, as the COVID-19 pandemic has shown, their microscopic effects cannot be understated.

The Earth’s Biomass, Under Threat

Human activities are having an ongoing impact on Earth’s biomass.

For example, we’ve lost significant forest cover in the past decades, to make room for agricultural land use and livestock production. One result of this is that biodiversity in virtually every region is on the decline.

Will we be able to reverse this trajectory and preserve the diversity of all the biomass on Earth, before it’s too late?

Editor’s note: This visualization was inspired by the work of Javier Zarracina for Vox from a few years ago. Our aim with the above piece was to recognize that while great communication needs no reinvention, it can be enhanced and reimagined to increase editorial impact and help spread knowledge to an even greater share of the population.

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