Unilever and Danone are teaming up with seven other major corporations to share ways of cutting emissions, with an aim of all businesses achieving net-zero emissions by 2050.

The Magnum ice-cream maker and Activia yogurt owner are to work with companies including Microsoft and NIKE in a new consortium called Transform to Net Zero. The group said the “outputs” of its work would be “widely available to all”, though additional companies can sign-up.

US non-profit Environmental Defense Fund will work with the businesses, which also include Starbucks, A.P. Moller – Maersk and Mercedes-Benz.

Last month, Unilever outlined a new target for its carbon emissions among a series of measures the FMCG giant showed it was “taking even more decisive action” on the environment. The company, pointing to “the scale and urgency of the climate crisis”, said it is “additionally committing to net zero emissions from all our products by 2039 – from the sourcing of the materials we use, up to the point of sale of our products in the store”. Any “residual emissions” in Unilever’s supply chain would be “balanced through purchased or self-generated offsets”, the group said.

Danone has committed to become carbon neutral by 2050 across what the company calls “our full value chain”. In 2019, the company reported a 24.8% reduction in its “CO2 footprint intensity”, or grams of CO2 equivalent per kilogram of products sold, compared to a 2015 baseline.

Announcing the new Transform to Net Zero alliance, Unilever CEO Alan Jope said: “The business world of the future cannot look like it does now; in addition to decarbonisation, a full system transformation is needed. That’s why we’re pleased to join other leading businesses as a founding member of Transform to Net Zero so we can work together and accelerate the strategic shift that is needed to achieve net zero emissions; in Unilever’s case, by 2039.”

Danone has committed to become “carbon neutral by 2050 across our full value chain”.

Compared to a 2015 baseline, Danone has reported it saw a 24.8% decline in its CO2 “footprint intensity”, or grams of CO2 equivalent per kilogram of products sold, in 2019 across the “full scope” of its operations.

Danone has also reported a 29.1% “absolute reduction” in the CO2 footprint of its “scope 1” and “scope 2” emissions in 2019. So-called Scope 1 emissions are direct emissions from owned or controlled sources. Scope 2 emissions are indirect emissions from the generation of purchased energy. A third definition, Scope 3, include all other indirect emissions that occur in the value chain of a reporting company.

Emmanuel Faber, Danone’s chairman and CEO, said he “truly believed in the collective power” of the Transform to Net Zero consortium.

He added: “Let’s share best practices and build new systems to create the evidence-based solutions that will help us drive the change and keep global warming under 1.5°C.”