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World’s biggest firms seen exaggerating their climate actions


Extinction Rebellion and other climate change activist groups organized a greenwash march during COP26 to call on world leaders to act appropriately to the problem of combatting climate change and stop their current destructive habits. The rally was held on the 3rd of November 2021 outside Glasgow Royal Concert Hall, in Glasgow, United Kingdom.

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The climate pledges of the world’s largest companies plan to reduce absolute carbon emissions by just 40% on average, not 100% as suggested by their net-zero claims, according to a study of 25 corporations.

The analysis, published Monday by non-profit organizations NewClimate Institute and Carbon Market Watch, found the headline climate pledges of most major multinational firms cannot be taken at face value.

The study assessed the transparency of each of the firm’s climate pledges and gave them an “integrity” rating. It scored them based on criteria including their climate targets, how much offsetting they planned to use and the reliability of those offsets, progress on reducing emissions and transparency.

Amazon, Google and Volkswagen were among the household names found to have low integrity on their net-zero targets, while Unilever, Nestle and BMW Group were found to have very low integrity.

None of the major multinationals were found to have high integrity overall. Maesrk came out on top with reasonable integrity, the report said, followed by Apple, Sony and Vodafone with moderate integrity.

CNBC contacted the companies mentioned in the report for comment. Some disagreed with the methods used in the study and said they were committed to taking action to curb the climate crisis.

Benjamin Ware, global head of climate delivery and sustainable sourcing at Nestle, said the firm’s greenhouse gas emissions had already peaked and continue to decline. “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.”

Separately, a spokesperson for Amazon told CNBC: “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.”

And a spokesperson for Volkswagen commented: “We agree with the aims of the New Climate Institute that large companies should be held accountable for their claims in a clear and transparent manner. We only disagree with some of their conclusions with respect to our company.”

It comes at a time when corporations are under immense pressure to reduce their environmental impact amid the deepening climate emergency.

The 25 firms evaluated account for roughly 5% of global greenhouse gas emissions, the report says. This reaffirms the scale of their carbon footprint and underlines the…


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