New report says companies’ climate targets are misleading to the public
A new report concludes major brands are exaggerating how ambitious their efforts to cut greenhouse gas emissions are - in effect misleading consumers, investors and governments. The report published on February 1, 2023 by the Europe-based environmental think tanks NewClimate Institute and Carbon Market Watch examined 24 companies, including KitKat manufacturer Nestle, French retailer Carrefour and automaker Volkswagen. It found that only one company - shipping firm Maersk — had climate plans with “reasonable integrity” while the rest were assessed to be moderate to very low. The researchers also questioned companies’ pledges to achieve “net zero” emissions, arguing that most consumers would understand that to mean largely stopping the release of planet-heating gas into the atmosphere. “These net zero pledges, they actually amount to a commitment to reduce the emissions of those companies by just 36 percent,” said Day. Companies either claim the rest will be removed from the atmosphere by artificial or natural means - so-called carbon offsets - or simply remove large chunks of their emissions from the tally. This was the case, for example, for Carrefour, which excludes 80 percent of its stores from the net zero target for 2040, according to the report. The company was among four corporations ranked as having climate plans with “very low integrity,” along with American Airlines, food processing company JBS and Samsung Electronics.