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Research suggests that the world’s largest firms are failing to pay net-zero claims. Source: Greenhouse gas emissions| Greenhouse gas emissions
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Research suggests that the world’s largest firms are failing to pay net-zero claims. Source: Greenhouse gas emissions| Greenhouse gas emissions

According to the Environmental Working Group, some of the world’s largest companies are not living up to their promises to reach net-zero emissions targets. ResearchThis means that they will reduce carbon emissions by only 40% instead of the 100% claimed.

Companies such as Unilever, Ikea, Nestl, and Amazon are all listed as having little substance to their claims of cutting emissions.

Thomas Day of NewClimate Institute compiled the report. He stated that, taken together, the efforts made by the 25 companies in the study would make little difference. These reductions will not make us more efficient than business as usual, he stated. We were surprised and disappointed at how much improvement was possible. [among the companies studied]. These goals must be clearly communicated by companies.

He said that near-term targets were a concern. The report found that companies surveyed would reduce their emissions by only 23% by 2030 on average, far below the figure scientists believe is necessary to limit global warming to 1.5C. He said that short-term actions are the most important in the climate crisis.

Many are relying heavily on carbon offsets for large portions of their anticipated cuts. Carbon offsetting, a controversial practice that compensates for greenhouse gas emissions elsewhere by paying for carbon reduction projects, is often done by maintaining forests or planting new trees.

Many of the companies studied made big of their public claims to sustainability. Day said that I expected more from some companies, such as Ikea and Unilever, given their positive perception.

The Monitor on Corporate Climate ResponsibilityNewClimate Institute & Carbon Market Watch scored companies on a variety of criteria including their targets and the amount of offsetting they intend to use. The reliability and progress on reducing emissions as well as transparency in corporate reporting and target-setting.

These benchmarks were used to rate the 25 companies. Amazon and Ikea were among the companies with low integrity. Nestl and E.ON were the 11 worst-ranked companies in the study.

Day stated that the main reason most companies were marked down was because of excessive use of offset. Companies looking to improve their green credentials are becoming more interested in offsetting, and a new standards body is expected to make it even more popular.

Critics point out that many offsets have been found to lack credibility and others have been fraudulent. Forestry is a poor alternative to immediate emissions cuts. Carbon emitted into our atmosphere today starts to heat it now and continues for at least a century. Trees take decades to grow and store carbon absorbed.

Proponents counter that, with deforestation rampant around the globe, conserving existing forests is one the most important ways to address the climate crisis.

Day stated that offsetting can obscure companies’ progress in cutting their emissions or hide behind offsets to achieve an imaginary net zero. He said that it is better to not offset. It is more transparent and constructive. Companies shouldn’t claim they are net zero by 2030 unless their emissions are reduced by 90% by then.

He was also concerned by the apparent low quality of some of these offsetting projects companies were using. He said that if they insist on offset, it should be with carbon credits with more integrity.

A spokesperson for Amazon stated that the company had set a goal to reach net-zero carbon by 2040. This was because they know that climate change has serious consequences and that action is urgently needed. Amazon is now on a path towards supplying all of its operations with renewable energy by 2025, five year ahead of our original target.

An E.ON spokesperson stated: “In our opinion, [the report]This is not only methodologically wrong, but it also leads to misleading results. E.ON’s carbon footprint is calculated using the internationally applicable greenhouse gas accounting standard. CDP included E.ON again in the A List [the Carbon Disclosure Project]For its climate reporting in 2021.

Ikea spokesperson said that while Ikea has made great strides in reducing absolute emissions and increasing business growth, they still have plans to address complex issues such as the climate impact of the Ikea materials.

Benjamin Ware is Nestl’s global head for climate delivery and sustainable purchasing. He said that we welcome scrutiny of our climate change actions and commitments. The report is a poor representation of our approach and contains many inaccuracies. [Our]The Science-Based Targets Initiative validated the climate roadmap [a corporate sustainability body]. It took a lot of work to create it.

Unilever spokeswoman said: Although we have different views on some aspects of this report, however, we welcome external analysis of progress and have started a productive dialogue to see how we could meaningfully improve our approach.

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