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Tuesday, December 6, 2022

Large Companies are Exaggerating Their Progress to Combat Climate Change, Study Shows

According to a survey of 25 firms, many of the world’s largest corporations are failing to fulfill their own climate change objectives.

According to the New Climate Institute research, they frequently misrepresent or misreport their success on a regular basis.

According to the survey, Google, Amazon, Ikea, Apple, and Nestle are among those failing to shift rapidly enough.

As more consumers want green products, businesses are under pressure to reduce their environmental effect.

Some of the businesses told reporters that they disagreed with some of the methodologies employed in the research, but said they were dedicated to addressing climate change.

According to the paper, the companies studied account for 5% of global greenhouse-gas emissions, implying that, despite their large carbon footprints, they have considerable potential to lead in the fight against climate change.

“The fast acceleration of corporate climate promises, along with the dispersion of methodologies, makes distinguishing between true climate leadership and spurious climate leadership more challenging than ever,” the research states.

Thomas Day, the study’s lead author, told reporters that his team set out to find strong business practices, but they were “honestly startled and dissatisfied by the general honesty of the corporations’ statements.”

In a statement, Amazon said: “We set these lofty goals because we recognize that climate change is a serious issue that requires immediate attention. Amazon is on track to power our operations with 100 percent renewable energy as part of our objective to attain net-zero emissions by 2040 “”The year 2025.”

And Nestle had this to say: “We encourage criticism of our climate change efforts and pledges. The Corporate Climate Responsibility Monitor (CCRM) report from the New Climate Institute, on the other hand, shows a lack of knowledge of our methodology and contains serious mistakes.”

New Climate Institute and Carbon Market Watch, both non-profit organizations, performed the Corporate Climate Responsibility Monitor.

It looked at companies’ publicly stated strategies for reducing greenhouse gas emissions and achieving net zero emissions.

Net zero implies not contributing to the quantity of greenhouse gases in the atmosphere, which experts say the world must achieve by 2050 to prevent global temperature rises.

To achieve it, emissions must be reduced as much as feasible, and those that remain must be balanced off by removing an equal amount.

Companies are free to choose their own goals. Google, for example, has stated that it will be carbon-free by 2030, while Ikea has stated that it would be “climate-positive” by 2030.

Emissions are produced by a variety of factors, including the transportation of goods and the energy consumed in factories and stores. Growing food or chopping down trees has a carbon footprint as well.

Each company was given a “integrity” grade in the survey. It discovered that while some companies were performing quite well in terms of lowering emissions, everyone could do better. None were awarded a “high integrity” rating.

It looked at things like revealing emissions on a yearly basis, providing a breakdown of emission sources, and providing information in a clear and intelligible manner.

It determined that, if implemented, the measures in place would cut emissions by no more than 40%, not the 100% required by the phrase “net zero.”

According to the report, just three of the 25 firms are “clearly committed” to reducing 90% of carbon emissions from their manufacturing and supply networks. Maersk, Vodafone, and Deutsche Telekom are the companies in question.

According to the survey, the way firms communicate about their climate promises is also a major issue. Mr Day claims that there is a significant difference between what corporations say and reality, and that customers will have a tough time determining the truth.

“All too frequently, companies’ ambitious-sounding headline statements lack genuine substance,” he argues. “Even the most successful businesses overstate their acts.”

Mr. Day, whose team spent weeks reading over paperwork, said the ordinary individual would struggle to make an educated decision whether buying furniture, electronics, or food in the supermarket.

One of the most contentious areas, he added, was what’s known as downstream or upstream emissions, which are those caused by activities that aren’t directly related to a corporation.

According to the research, upstream emissions, such as the use of power by consumers using Apple phones, laptops, and other devices, account for 70% of Apple’s climate footprint.

Many businesses neglected to account for these emissions in their climate strategy.

Ikea told reporters that it encouraged “conversation and inspection” of firms’ climate pledges and aims in order to make sure they were “aligned with the science of 1.5°C.”

“The Recent Climate Institute’s new paper is a welcome contribution to this.”

“While we have differing viewpoints on certain aspects of this study, we welcome external scrutiny of our efforts and have started a fruitful discussion with the New Climate Institute to examine how we might significantly expand our approach,” Unilever said.

“We clearly outline the extent of our climate goals and frequently report on our progress in our annual Environmental Report, where our energy and greenhouse gas emissions data is guaranteed by Ernst & Young,” Google said in a statement.

Cedric Blackwater
Cedric Blackwater
Cedric is a journalist with over a decade of experience reporting on local US news, and touching on many global topics. He is currently the lead writer for Bulletin News.

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