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Green washing: World's biggest companies overstating climate change action, says study

Green washing: World's biggest companies overstating climate change action, says study

Green washing: World's biggest companies overstating climate change action, says study
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By CNBCTV18.com Feb 7, 2022 8:02 PM IST (Published)

Among the companies misreporting their progress on net-zero targets, the study names Google, Amazon, Ikea, Apple and Nestle, while Maersk, Vodafone and Deutsche Telekom have been found to be on course to meet their climate goals.

Some of the world’s biggest companies that have made commitments to reduce their carbon emissions are vastly overstating their progress and failing to meet their own goals, a new study has stated. Companies like Google, Amazon, Ikea, Apple and Nestle are not only failing to meet their goals but are often also misreporting their progress, stated the study from the New Climate Institute.

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Many large companies have made public commitments to reach net-zero carbon emissions as consumers increasingly look for products and services that have lower carbon emissions.

But these corporations have been accused of “green washing,” where companies are spending more time on marketing their products, aims and policies as environmentally-friendly instead of actually working on reducing their carbon footprint.

"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 Corporate Climate Responsibility Monitor study stated.

The study was conducted by New Climate Institute and Carbon Market Watch.

"Companies' ambitious-sounding headline claims all too often lack real substance. Even companies that are doing relatively well exaggerate their actions,” study author Thomas Day told BBC News.

Day and his team found that out of the 25 companies that they studied only three seemed to be clearly committed to reaching 90 percent reduction in carbon emissions from their business and supply chains -- Maersk, Vodafone and Deutsche Telekom.

Twelve of the other companies have no specific emission reduction commitment for the pledges that they have made for reducing carbon emissions for any target year. Collectively, the 25 companies, which produce 2.7 GtCO2e or approximately 5 percent of global greenhouse gases, specifically commit to reducing only less than 20 percent of their carbon footprint.

“Targets for 2030 fall well short of the ambition required to align with the internationally agreed goals of the Paris Agreement and avoid the most damaging effects of climate change. Among the companies we assessed, 15 of the 25 prominently report interim climate targets. However, our analysis finds that the average emission reduction commitment of full value chain emissions between 2019 and 2030 is just 23 percent,” the study added.

Other companies in the study were Apple, Sony, Amazon, Enel, GlaxoSmithKline, Google, Hitachi, Ikea, Vale, Volkswagen, Walmart, Accenture, BMW Group, Carrefour, CVS Health, Deutsche Post DHL, E.On SE, JBS, Nestle, Novartis, Saint-Gobain, Unilever.

Many of the companies had reached out to BBC News to dispute the findings of the study, saying they did not agree with  its methodology.

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