For companies, business leaders, and the global community at large, 2020 has been a year of incredible upheaval and historic challenges. The far-reaching impact of COVID-19, the global protests against racial discrimination and police violence, and the unrelenting trauma of multiple climate emergencies – crises that are all exacerbated by the global climate crisis itself – culminated last month in a historic U.S. presidential election. And while many had hoped that the global lockdown necessitated by COVID-19 might slow the dangerous effects of the climate crisis, the climate milestones of this year have shown us otherwise.
Recent reports show that, yet again, this year will be the hottest on record, and despite the global lockdown, greenhouse gases are at an all-time high. But at this moment of profound crisis, we have the opportunity to build a more resilient, sustainable economy – one that will put our planet on a path towards achieving net-zero emissions, economy-wide, by no later than 2050.
Don’t f*#k the planet
At Atlassian, we have a responsibility to stand up for what’s right. We have a long history of doing this, and it is underpinned by our company values.
We also have a long-standing commitment to being a company focused on the long term. This is why we’re as just as committed to sustainability as we are to our products. We think about it as embedding the goal of social and environmental progress in everything we do.
We are setting ambitious climate goals because we believe in matching our words by stepping up and taking action. It’s what our staff want. It’s what our customers expect. It’s what our politicians should be doing. And it’s what we must do for the future sustainability of our business.
As part of our commitment to combat climate change, Atlassian set a goal to reach 100 percent renewable power across all our operations by 2025, which we achieved in the fiscal year 2020, five years ahead of schedule.
In September 2019, at UN Climate week, we committed to set a target to reach net-zero emissions by no later than 2050. We aligned our goals with a 1.5°C trajectory as part of our commitment to the Business Ambition for 1.5°C campaign, reflecting the most ambitious objectives of the Paris Agreement.
Today, we’re excited to announce that these goals have been approved by the Science Based Targets Initiative steering committee. It’s incredibly important to go through the process of figuring out exactly how far we need to reduce carbon emissions to meet our commitments. This isn’t easy as a growing business, but as one of the first companies in our size category to do it, we can tell you it’s doable!
We congratulate Atlassian Corporation for setting emissions reduction targets consistent with limiting warming to 1.5°C, the most ambitious goal of the Paris Agreement. By setting targets that are grounded in climate science, Atlassian is setting themselves up for success in the transition to a net-zero economy.Alexander Farsan, global lead for Science Based Targets at World Wide Fund for Nature
We were one of the first Australian companies to sign the 1.5 campaign, making a massive commitment to transform our business. And with 5,000 Atlassians in multiple offices, countries, and continents, we will have to make big changes to our direct and indirect operations to reach this goal. We’re doing this because we believe in reinforcing our words with action and leaving the planet in a better state for future generations.
What’s the plan for getting to net-zero?
Our SBTi verification is an important step in our climate leadership and commitment to science. Here are the key ways we believe we can get there by 2050;
Scope 1-2 – Absolute Emissions Reduction of 50 percent by 2025: This will mostly be achieved through procurement of 100 percent renewable energy and is therefore directly aligned with our RE100 commitment. The other critical element is ensuring any of the buildings we own and operate run on electricity for heating and cooling (as opposed to natural gas or diesel).
Scope 3 – Reduce absolute emissions from business travel 25 percent by 2025: This will be achieved by reducing emissions from business travel, with a big focus on air travel. We’ll need to consider how to shift travel policy and team behavior, in the context of Team Anywhere, in order to achieve our goal. There is also an opportunity to work with airlines to advocate for more renewable aviation fuels.
Scope 3 – 65 percent of suppliers by emissions will have SBTs by FY25: This will be achieved through supply chain management. We’ll need to engage with our top suppliers and encourage them to set science-based climate targets. We are in the middle of mapping out our priorities here with the finance and procurement teams, and we’re looking forward to the opportunity for innovation in this space.
A final note on climate leadership
One of our values at Atlassian is “Open Company, No Bullshit.” One thing we know for certain: we aren’t going to get this right the first time. But we are committed to being open and honest about our journey and sharing what we learn with the business community (see our sustainability report for updates, with FY20 coming out later this month!)
If Atlassian – a high-growth software company accelerating our journey to the cloud – can do it, others can too. We hope that sharing our progress inspires other companies to set Science Based Targets; we envision a coalition of companies pursuing bold solutions to climate change.
We know the path to net-zero isn’t clear – there are a lot of open questions. We can’t refuse to act just because we don’t have all the answers. The not knowing, and doing it anyway, is what leadership looks like.
We have to think and act holistically, knowing that we can’t fully solve climate change without addressing theunderlying racial, gender, and socioeconomic inequalities. And that while coalitions of companies taking action are critical, we also need strong governmental policies and community activism.
This is our moment to inspire innovation. To stand up and show what’s possible. Together, let’s fight for a better future, for the planet and the people living on it.
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