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Climate Leadership Framework

Helping companies achieve strategic oversight of their climate change activity and identify the steps towards becoming a net zero organisation.

Climate Leadership Framework Logo CMYK

Companies know they need to play a key role in transitioning to a net zero carbon economy. But many struggle to understand their climate change impacts, identify risks and opportunities and agree a long term net zero strategy. The corporate climate change landscape can also be difficult to navigate given the plethora of membership schemes, reporting approaches and sustainability initiatives.

The Carbon Trust Climate Leadership Framework has been designed to overcome these barriers and provide clarity for senior leaders. It reviews a company’s current performance on climate change using a scorecard assessment before providing specific actions in a bespoke net zero roadmap that can be embedded in strategic plans.

The framework has been tested and refined in partnership with five businesses - Pearson, Quorn Foods, SGN, Sky and Marshalls - and is informed by the Carbon Trust’s expertise gained through almost two decades of working with companies on climate change. The intention is that this is not a burdensome process for any company. It is conducted in two phases: expert research using existing data and a collaborative workshop to present the scorecard results and agree the roadmap. The workshop provides an opportunity for structured engagement, while the scorecard will be used to track progress on an ongoing basis and the roadmap can be fully embedded in strategic plans.

The Climate Leadership Framework is a powerful internal tool, helping those who are already championing action on climate change to influence senior colleagues and elevating actions on climate change within an organisation.

The Carbon Trust’s new Climate Leadership Framework has given us the opportunity to assess the full scope of activities on climate change across our business and understand where opportunities for improvement exist. 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. This will ultimately help us shape our long term sustainability strategy beyond its current 2020 timeline.

Matthew Rowland-Jones, Sustainability Manager, Pearson


The Climate Leadership Framework in action

The Climate Leadership Framework assesses company performance in addressing climate change across three perspectives:


Own operations:

tackling areas where emissions exist in areas of operational control


Value chain:

influencing upstream and downstream emissions reductions in the supply chain and with customers


Enablement of avoided emissions:

driving wider transformation across society and developing the products and services that play an important role in a net zero emissions future



Across each of these three perspectives, a company’s performance is evaluated by scoring it against criteria across five separate streams of activity:



Target setting


Contextual analysis




Is a company setting sufficiently ambitious targets in the right areas?



Does the company have an implementation plan that clearly lays out the actions it will take to achieve its targets?



Does a 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



Is there a structured approach to develop and deliver the changes necessary to transform a company so it can succeed in a net zero carbon economy?



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?



Receive a scorecard evaluating your progress

After working with the Carbon Trust to undergo an assessment using the Climate Leadership Framework, a company is presented with a scorecard showing its current state of progress. Businesses are scored against each activity stream, looking at each of the three perspectives separately. The scorecard ranks performance across four levels, with Level 4 indicating that a company is doing everything it should in this area to be fully aligned with the transition to a net zero carbon economy.


Develop a roadmap for business transformation

Following the scorecard evaluation, a bespoke roadmap is developed containing practical next steps in order to make progress towards becoming a climate leader and achieving net zero emissions.


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.

Louise Needham, Sustainability Manager, Quorn Foods


The benefits of the Climate Leadership Framework

  • Holistic – it looks at the entire value chain and the enablement of avoided emissions, with an emphasis on the future horizon through a focus on innovation and influencing
  • Strategic – it gives an eagle-eye view of current performance using a proven scorecard approach with minimal technical detail
  • Guidance – it provides expert guidance to help develop a tailored roadmap to make tangible progress on moving towards a net zero economy
  • Engagement – the approach includes powerful opportunities for internal collaboration and engagement
  • Resource-light – the approach requires minimal up front time and effort from participating companies
  • Recognition – using the framework demonstrates a company’s strategic approach to climate change and its ambition to become a climate leader



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.

Nicholas Drake, Climate Change & Sustainability Senior Manager, SGN

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Find out more about how your business can benefit from the Climate Leadership Framework

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