Vertiv Introduces New Single-Phase Uninterruptible Power Supply for Distributed Information Technology (IT) Networks and Edge Computing Applications in Europe, Middle East, and Africa (EMEA)Read more Students from JA Zimbabwe Win 2023 De La Vega Global Entrepreneurship AwardRead more Top International Prospects to Travel to Salt Lake City for Seventh Annual Basketball Without Borders Global CampRead more Rise of the Robots as Saudi Arabia Underscores Global Data and Artificial Intelligence (AI) Aspirations with DeepFest Debut at LEAP23Read more Somalia: ‘I sold the last three goats, they were likely to die’Read more Merck Foundation and African First Ladies marking World Cancer Day 2023 through 110 scholarships of Oncology Fellowships in 25 countriesRead more Supporting women leaders and aspirants to unleash their potentialRead more Fake medicines kill almost 500,000 sub-Saharan Africans a year: United Nations Office on Drugs and Crime (UNODC) reportRead more Climate crisis and migration: Greta Thunberg supports International Organization for Migration (IOM) over ‘life and death’ issueRead more United Nations (UN) Convenes Lake Chad Countries, Amid Growing Regional CrisisRead more

On climate, most corporations more talk than action

show caption
'The overwhelming majority of these corporations are simply not delivering the goods they promised,' according to a new report./AFP
Print Friendly and PDF

Feb 13, 2023 - 02:45 AM

PARIS, FRANCE — The world’s biggest and richest companies are failing to deliver on their climate pledges, according to an in-depth analysis released Monday that calls on governments to crack down on corporate greenwashing.

Under growing pressure from shareholders, governments and consumers, companies are racing to roll out strategies to reduce the carbon emissions of their operations, along with their products and services.

Twenty-four multinationals examined have all endorsed the Paris treaty target of capping global warming at 1.5 degrees Celsius, and aligned themselves with UN-backed campaigns to ensure that business plays its part in decarbonising the global economy.

Staying under that critical temperature threshold will require slashing global greenhouse gas emissions 45 percent by 2030, and reaching “net zero” — with any residual emissions balanced by removals — by mid-century, the UN’s IPCC science advisory panel has said.

But the 2030 pledges of the 22 companies that made them would only slice 15 percent off their collective emissions, the report found.

And net zero targets adopted by all 24 multinationals — if met — would barely remove a third of their current emissions.

“The overwhelming majority of these corporations are simply not delivering the goods they promised,” the 2023 Corporate Climate Responsibility Monitor concluded.

Climate think tanks Carbon Market Watch and NewClimate Institute did a deep-dive into sectors ranging from the auto, shipping and aviation industries, to retail fashion, high tech and food, to steel and cement. No oil or gas companies were included.

Vague ‘net zero’ pledges 

With combined earnings of more than $3 trillion, the two dozen companies under the microscope account for some four percent of all global emissions — two billion tonnes of CO2 or its equivalent each year.

Analysts assessed the integrity of each corporation’s climate plan, looking at the accuracy of self-reported emissions, targets set for reducing them, progress to date, and how heavily pledges depend on questionable compensation schemes known as carbon offsets.

“At a time when corporations need to come clear about their climate impact and shrink their carbon footprint, many are exploiting vague and misleading ‘net zero’ pledges to greenwash their brands while continuing with business as usual,” said Carbon Market Watch executive director Sabine Frank.

Earning the best overall marks was shipping giant Maersk, whose plan for erasing its carbon footprint by 2040 was deemed to have “reasonable integrity”.

The climate plans of eight corporate giants — including Apple, Google, Microsoft and steel-conglomerate ArcelorMittal — were judged to have “moderate integrity”.

Swedish fast-fashion retail giant H&M, also in this tranche, has very ambitious emissions reduction targets, but parts of its green strategy could undermine them, the report found.

“The company’s plans to switch to biomass and renewable electricity credits (RECs) in the supply chain could severely undermine those targets,” NewClimate Institutes’s Silke Mooldijk told AFP.

Biomass is associated with deforestation and CO2 emissions, and the purchase of RECs “allows companies to report emission reductions that are not real,” according to a recent study in Nature Climate Change.

Junk carbon credits 

When asked to comment, H&M “welcomed” the new report and outlined steps it is taking to achieve its “100 percent renewable electricity goal for our and our supplier’s operations”, but sidestepped the question of biomass and RECs.

The climate claims of another 11 companies were found to have “low integrity,” and four — American Airlines, Samsung Electronics, retail food giant Carrefour, and JBS, the largest meat processing company in the world — were all tagged with “very low integrity”.

Carrefour objected to the ranking, saying the company had set emissions reduction goals across its entire value chain, and was the only large French food retailer ready to cut off suppliers lacking their own climate strategies.

JBS said the report had not taken into account written clarifications provided to the authors, but did not say what they were.

American Airlines and Samsung did respond when contacted by email.

“Regulations are needed requiring companies to reduce their emissions, and regulating what they can — and cannot — say to consumers,” Carbon Market Watch policy lead Gilles Dufrasne told AFP.

“The short term action that’s needed is to ban carbon neutrality claims,” he added. “If the company wants to buy junk carbon credits that don’t represent anything, they’re free to do so, but they’re not free to make false and misleading statements.”

LMBCNEWS.COM uses both Facebook and Disqus comment systems to make it easier for you to contribute. We encourage all readers to share their views on our articles and blog posts. All comments should be relevant to the topic. By posting, you agree to our Privacy Policy. We are committed to maintaining a lively but civil forum for discussion, so we ask you to avoid personal attacks, name-calling, foul language or other inappropriate behavior. Please keep your comments relevant and respectful. By leaving the ‘Post to Facebook’ box selected – when using Facebook comment system – your comment will be published to your Facebook profile in addition to the space below. If you encounter a comment that is abusive, click the “X” in the upper right corner of the Facebook comment box to report spam or abuse. You can also email us.