New framework to help businesses transition to a net zero economy

The Carbon Trust Climate Leadership Framework helps senior management understand how their company is currently performing on climate change, identifies the opportunities for measureable improvements via a low carbon roadmap and guides their strategic planning.

As a trusted partner of leading organisations globally, the Carbon Trust has identified a growing demand from companies for expert evaluation and guidance on their overall strategic approach to climate change. To meet this demand and ensure that companies are equipped to take comprehensive action towards net zero, the Carbon Trust has spent over a year developing this new framework.  

Hugh Jones, Managing Director – Business Services, the Carbon Trust said:

“Organisations are more aware than ever of the need for bold action on climate change. The recent publication of the Committee on Climate Change's Net Zero report and heightened public and political awareness of climate change issues have highlighted the need to transition to sustainable, low carbon economies across the world. This framework enables businesses to play their full part and ultimately become climate leaders.”

The framework has been tested and refined in partnership with five businesses over the past six months to ensure it provides a straightforward process to produce robust, relevant and actionable insights for company leaders.

Using the framework, the Carbon Trust works with each client to assess its own operations, its upstream and downstream value chain, and the avoided emissions brought about by the use of its products or services.

Within each of these three perspectives, the following activities are examined:

  • Target setting: is the company setting sufficiently ambitious targets in the right areas?
  • Implementation: does the company have an implementation plan that clearly lays out the actions it will take to achieve its targets?
  • Contextual analysis: does the business fully understand the climate change issues it is facing, including the opportunities and risks it faces in the transition to a net zero economy?
  • Innovation: is there a structured approach to developing and delivering the changes necessary to transform the company beyond its current short to medium term target horizon so it can succeed in a net zero carbon economy?
  • Influencing: is the business engaging key stakeholders in initiatives to address the barriers to achieving further emissions reductions beyond its current short to medium term target horizon?

Once its assessment is completed, each company agrees and receives a scorecard showing its current state of progress and a bespoke roadmap containing practical next steps in order to make progress towards becoming a climate leader and achieving net zero emissions.

Hugh Jones, Managing Director – Business Services, the Carbon Trust added:

“Businesses may already be addressing some of their climate change impacts but this framework helps evaluate their overall performance, strategically positions existing schemes and initiatives for them and, crucially, provides a tailored company-wide roadmap for improvement. Experience from working with companies on its development has shown that it is extremely effective at facilitating company-wide understanding and ownership of climate change impacts and stimulating long term strategic planning.”

The Climate Leadership Framework has already been taken up by five companies working with the Carbon Trust – Pearson, Quorn Foods, SGN, Sky and Marshalls.

Louise Needham, Sustainability Manager, Quorn Foods said:

“We found the Climate Leadership Framework project to be very valuable indeed. To complement the confidence we have from a product-led perspective, we needed an objective and independent assessment of our organisational climate change strategy, plus key recommendations to make improvements – this is exactly what we achieved with the project.”

Matthew Rowland-Jones, Sustainability Manager, Pearson commented:

“The framework enabled Pearson to measure progress against different perspectives and delivers a comprehensive and robust set of recommendations. There is also additional benefit as the framework has been developed by a trusted, third party expert partner, which adds credibility to support our engagement with colleagues, facilitating a meaningful discussion on areas for improvement.”

Nicholas Drake, Climate Change & Sustainability Senior Manager, SGN said:

“SGN was keen to take part in the initial group of companies to be taken through the Climate Leadership Framework, which lays out a clear path for companies to align with a net zero future. It has helped us to demonstrate our commitment to taking action on climate change and recognises the severity of the current situation.”


For further information, please contact the Carbon Trust press office on +44 (0)20 7170 7050 or email


About the Carbon Trust

Established in 2001, the Carbon Trust works with businesses, governments and institutions around the world, helping them contribute to, and benefit from, a more sustainable future through carbon reduction, resource efficiency strategies, and commercialising low carbon businesses, systems and technologies.

The Carbon Trust:

  • works with corporates and governments, helping them to align their strategies with climate science and meet the goals of the Paris Agreement;
  • provides expert advice and assurance, giving investors and financial institutions the confidence that green finance will have genuinely green outcomes; and
  • supports the development low carbon technologies and solutions, building the foundations for the energy system of the future.

Headquartered in London, the Carbon Trust has a global team of 200 staff, representing over 30 nationalities based across five continents.