The key question companies should be asking is not “What is the balance between ambitious and realistic?” The key question is, “What’s the problem I’m trying to solve, what is my share of the problem, and how do I do enough to solve my share of the problem?” That should be the starting point. . . .
McElroy: Setting a science- or context-based target is often more ambitious than what companies have done in the past. How should companies decide where to focus first?
Moss: The answer is materiality — that is, the issues which have the biggest impact on a company’s business and on which their business has the biggest impact. For example, for a company that makes cars, it’s great to put solar panels on the roof of the manufacturing facility, but the biggest impact on climate change is the impact of its vehicles on the road. If a company wants to set goals for meaningful change and impact and to ensure the business is fit to exist in a sustainable future, it has to look at its most material impacts.