NEWS5 June 2024

MRS creates updated Climate Pledge

News Sustainability UK

UK – The Market Research Society (MRS) has launched a new MRS Climate Pledge to replace its Net Zero Pledge.

Net zero

The Climate Pledge has been adopted due to changes in how the term ‘net zero’ is understood, which is generally now taken to mean that there has to be a 90% reduction in emissions before carbon removal and offset can be pursued.

The MRS had originally intended to allow carbon neutrality to be achieved by organisations reducing emissions somewhat and then offsetting the rest, and it was felt that achieving the new standard of net zero would be too challenging for most company partners to achieve by 2026.

The Sustainability Council therefore decided to reflect global best practice in a new pledge for 2024 to encourage greater levels of positive behavioural change rather than putting off potential supporters with hard-to-achieve goals.

The new MRS Climate Pledge reflects the recommendations of science-based targets initiatives and focuses on four key areas: tracking, reduction, transparency and collaboration.

The updated pledge also features a climate action list of examples to guide research organisations on the key steps to take on their net zero pathway.

After a consultation period, signees of the previous Net Zero Pledge are being migrated to the new MRS Climate Pledge.

MRS is also proposing to measure progress on achieving Climate Pledge goals through an annual pledge tracking survey, where signatories must provide demonstrable evidence of their achievements in each area of the pledge, relative to previous years.  This will be sent to all signatories in the autumn.

Jane Frost, chief executive at MRS, said: “It goes without saying that climate change is one of the most pressing challenges facing our world, and it’s vital that the research sector plays a role in tackling its increasingly devastating impact.

“We’re proud of the progress that has been made by our members since the inception of the MRS Net Zero Pledge three years ago, and we’re committed to helping them take further steps in line with our growing understanding of how our sector can best protect the environment.”

Frost added: “Our new MRS Climate Pledge recognises that the journey towards net zero is not one size fits all. Rather than holding all organisations to the same standard target, the pledge aims to encourage ambitious action in line with businesses’ resources.

“Along with our members’ continued hard work, this will help the research and insights sector make a meaningful, positive difference that supports the health of our planet.”

Caroline Wren, MRS Sustainability Council member and co-founder at MTM, said: “The MRS Sustainability Council decided to revise the Net Zero Pledge in order to better reflect the evolved global understanding of net zero. In particular, there is a concern that there is now a distinction drawn between carbon neutral and net zero which are somewhat conflated in the previous Net Zero Pledge.

“We decided to reflect global best practice in a new pledge for 2024 that should encourage greater levels of positive behavioural change rather than putting off potential signees with unachievable goals.”