Daily Management Review

Top Firms Are Inflating Their Progress On Climate Change, Says New Research


Top Firms Are Inflating Their Progress On Climate Change, Says New Research
According to a study of 25 businesses, many of the biggest companies are failing to fulfill their own climate change targets.
According to the New Climate Institute report, the companies in question 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 impact.
According to a report by BBC News, some of the businesses mentioned in the report said 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 per cent 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 rapid acceleration of corporate climate pledges, combined with the fragmentation of approaches, means that it is more difficult than ever to distinguish between real climate leadership and unsubstantiated," the study says.
According to research author Thomas Day, his team set out to find acceptable business practices, but were "frankly surprised and disappointed at the overall integrity of the companies' claims".
"We set these ambitious targets because we know that climate change is a serious problem, and action is needed now more than ever. As part of our goal to reach net-zero carbon by 2040, Amazon is on a path to powering our operations with 100% renewable energy by 2025," Amazon said in its statement.
"We welcome scrutiny of our actions and commitments on climate change. However, the New Climate Institute's Corporate Climate Responsibility Monitor (CCRM) report lacks understanding of our approach and contains significant inaccuracies," Nestle told the BBC.
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 means not contributing to the quantity of greenhouse gases in the atmosphere, which experts say the world must achieve by 2050 to limit global temperature rises.
To achieve it, emissions must be reduced as much as feasible, and any 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 will 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 cutting down trees has a carbon footprint as well.
Each company was given a "integrity" rating in the survey. It discovered that while some companies were performing relatively well in terms of lowering emissions, all 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 reduce emissions by no more than 40 per cent, not the 100% required by the term "net zero."
According to the report, only three of the 25 firms are "clearly committed" to reducing 90 per cent 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 talk about their climate pledges is also a major issue. Day claims that there is a significant difference between what corporations say and reality and that consumers will have a tough time determining the truth.
"Companies' ambitious-sounding headline claims all too often lack real substance," he explains. "Even companies that are doing relatively well exaggerate their actions."