Are companies keeping their promise to fight climate change? – 24/7, Wall Street.
With the climate crisis looming ever larger, it is becoming increasingly clear that humanity must radically change its ways to avoid devastating and irreversible consequences. In March 2021, 21% of the world’s 2,000 largest companies pledged to be carbon neutral or achieve net zero emissions by a future date, typically 2050, in a bid to be consistent with targets set by the Paris Agreement. (Here are 20 islands that will disappear in your lifetime.)
But how can we assess these promises – is climate awareness touted in the picture or based on thoughtful analysis and planning for the future, with changes in operations designed to make a difference. The New Climate Institute, a non-profit organization that supports research and action on climate change, in collaboration with Carbon Market Watch, a non-profit organization that promotes climate action, produced a report, Corporate Responsibility Monitor 2022to provide insight into how some large companies that have announced climate targets are actually working to reduce their carbon footprint.
The report assesses 25 companies that together account for $3.2 trillion in revenue and 5% of global greenhouse gas emissions. (All data is from the report.) The assessment paints a dismal picture, with a fair amount of corporate advertising of climate commitments amounting to bluster, dubbed “greenwashing.”
The researchers assessed companies for “transparency” in terms of disclosing their sources and emissions data, and for “integrity” of their planning, defined as quality and credibility, and found that all companies more or less missing. Most companies were cited for incomplete or inconsistent data, reduction strategies that lack detail, and interim targets that don’t legitimately create a path to net zero emissions.
Companies must address not only the carbon production of their own operations, called scope 1 emissions, and the indirect emissions associated with their energy consumption, scope 2, but also the emissions of their upstream suppliers and their customers. downstream, scope 3. Many companies have failed to consider scope 3 emissions. While many companies seem sincere in their efforts, progress everywhere is very late and very slow. (This company produces the most plastic waste in the world.)
Click here to see if companies are keeping their promise to fight climate change