Biggest Corporations Falling Short on Climate Goals

Marco Verch via CCNull

Many of the biggest and richest businesses on Earth are coming up short in their efforts to tackle climate change, a new report finds.

To have a shot at limiting warming to 1.5 degrees C, the world needs to cut emissions by 43 percent by the end of this decade. But an analysis of climate plans from 51 corporate giants finds that these firms are aiming to trim their carbon footprints by only 30 percent, on average. “There still is a concerning lack of commitment and urgency from too many companies,” said Frederic Hans of the NewClimate Institute, the group behind the report.

One reason for the shortfall is that, while most companies are focused on cleaning up their own operations, many are doing too little to lessen the impact of their suppliers. H&M, for example, aims to slash emissions from its retail stores, but it has no plans to stop sourcing clothes from factories that burn coal. Food giant Nestlé aims to cut emissions from its facilities in half, but it’s doing little to address the impact of the farms that supply its ingredients.

Looking ahead, companies need to zero out their emissions by mid-century, but many long-term climate plans are lacking in credibility, the report finds. Power companies Iberdrola, ENGIE, and Duke Energy are working to phase out coal, but none has concrete plans to shutter its gas-fired power plants. Carmakers Stellantis, Toyota, and Volkswagen are all looking to ramp up production of electric vehicles, but not one has set a date for ending the sale of conventional cars.

One bright spot, according to the report, is that companies are moving away from a reliance on carbon offsets, which allow for dubious claims of carbon neutrality. Authors write, “Only a minority of the companies assessed currently claim that their businesses or specific products are carbon neutral.”


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