The 64 companies that have signed up to the Business in the Community Ireland (BITCI) Low Carbon Pledge have made "significant" progress towards tackling climate change, according to a PwC report published today.

The pledge was established in 2018 and calls on businesses to work towards setting science-based emission reduction targets by 2024 at the latest.

The targets are based on findings from scientific studies on how to limit global warming to 1.5 degrees Celsius.

Today's report shows that 68% of the signatories are "well progressed" to setting science-based targets (SBTs) by 2024.

30% of these businesses have successfully set their targets and had them approved by the "science based targets initiative", while 38% have formally committed to setting these targets.

For companies that have set SBTs, 100% cover scope 1 and 2 emission reduction targets, with 82% also setting the more difficult scope 3 emission targets.

The report states that around three-quarters are set to achieve their targets by 2030 or earlier.

Companies within the technology, retail and agribusiness/food and drink sectors are the most advanced on their targets, according to today's report.

Minister for Transport, Climate, Environment and Communications, Eamon Ryan said the Business in the Community Ireland Low Carbon Pledge has taken a major step forward, with signatories committing to science-based targets aligned with the Paris Agreement.

"With over 60 businesses signed up to the pledge, there is strong good alignment between this initiative and the roadmap set by the Climate Bill," he said.

"Business leadership is a crucial lever for change, to make this a competitive challenge, and use innovations like the Low Carbon Pledge to get to net-zero faster," he said.

Minister Ryan said the Government is taking "decisive" climate action.

"The Government is providing a legislative path to achieving the ambitious target of 51% reduction in carbon emissions in this decade and setting us on the path to net-zero by 2050," he said.

More than 1,300 companies worldwide have set science-based targets, as Kim McClenaghan, Partner, PwC Ireland Energy, Utilities and Sustainability Practice Lead, explained.

"These verified emission-reduction targets, grounded in climate science, put companies on a path to reduce greenhouse gas emissions and prevent the worst effects of climate change," she said.

"A number of areas for organisations to consider on their decarbonisation journey include - understand your operating environment; set ambitious targets; align your corporate strategy to net-zero and obtain external validation of your non-financial data to confirm the accuracy and credibility of your reporting," she added.