Research Outline

COP26 Outcomes


Provide information around the outcomes of the COP26, especially as it pertains to private companies.

Early Findings

Data Availability

Early research indicates data is widely available on this topic.


  • 151 countries agreed to keep working to cut their emissions by 2030, known as nationally determined contributions. The conference called on many countries to strengthen their targets to better align them with the Paris Agreement's goals.
  • Negotiators also finally made headway on solidifying standards for the international carbon market.
  • Some countries also used the conference to announce commitments and innovations on things like clean technology, solar, ending the use of coal and more.

Related to Private Companies

  • Investors, businesses and other non-state actors also participated in COP26. Over 2,000 companies committed to new science-based targets for reducing their emissions.
  • Just prior to the conference, new guidance for companies to set net-zero targets was released.
  • To assist with this, the UN Secretary-General, Antonio Guterres, created a high-level expert group that will establish clear standards for measurability.
  • As countries finally acknowledged that fossil fuel subsidies were outdated, and the deal called to end them. This will effect companies that currently receiving such subsidies.
  • Large financial firms also made a commitment to shift their portfolios to net-zero by 2030.
  • McKinsey concludes that the commitments that came out of COP26 signal that net-zero is now a cornerstone operating principle for business.

Actions to be Taken

  • Following the COP26, private companies may wish to or feel obliged to take action on these outcomes. According to McKinsey, companies can get ahead of the curve by joining coalitions that exist now or organizing one themselves that encourage cross-sector engagement.
  • As financial portfolio alignment has also gained significant traction, the need for transparency becomes even more important. Companies need to release clear, detailed plans on how they will achieve their net-zero commitments. For example, UK chancellor of the exchequer confirmed they would require all UK-listed companies to release plans by 2023, but those who do so early can distinguish their companies.
  • This is especially true because by most analysis, many large company's targets are seen as generally following, lacking the action to actually achieve them.
  • Additionally, getting out in front on net-zero commitments can also help mitigate potential shortages and price volatility. Locking in contracts early can secure the necessary materials to ensure production capacity.