The ‘Net zero’ plan of some of the world’s largest companies is accused of shortfall

The world’s 25 largest companies with “net zero” goals plan to cut their absolute emissions by just 40% on average, according to a new report that highlights the complexities surrounding the goals. voluntary emissions of companies.

Unilever, Nestlé, BMW, Eon and Accenture are among the multinationals listed as having “low integrity” climate targets in an analysis by the European NGO NewClimate and Carbon Institutes. Market Watch announced on Sunday.

Of the 25 companies assessed in the Corporate Climate Responsibility Monitor report – representing 5% of total global greenhouse gas emissions and totaling $3.2 billion in annual revenue la – half were found to have no absolute emission reduction targets for their “net zero” target year.

“There’s not enough regulation or accountability for these companies, they basically have free tickets,” said Thomas Day, lead author and founding partner at the NewClimate Institute. “In the end, what really matters is not these net zero claims but what they actually commit to.”

Many companies claim their commitment to align with globally accepted standards. But the voluntary reduction goals are largely self-administered by several nonprofit groups and endorsed by several nonprofit groups, some of whose methodologies the report criticizes.

While most of the companies analyzed have earned positive climate ratings from environmental groups like the CDP and the Science-Based Targets initiative, the study says these scores typically include ” vulnerabilities” reduces their usefulness.

For example, German utility Eon has pledged to cut emissions by 100% by 2050. However, its target does not include energy sold to wholesale markets, which account for about 40% of sales. its energy sales, according to the report.

Eon says these sales have been excluded to avoid double counting of customer emissions, in line with the GHG Protocol’s widely used standards, and that “Responsibility monitoring corporate climate 2022 does not methodically correspond to internationally valid standards”.

Benjamin Ware, global head of climate distribution and sustainable sourcing at Nestlé, also highlighted the use of “measures other than those most commonly used in the industry” by the company. report.

“Currently, the greenhouse gas protocol and SBTi. . . have set industry standards,” he said, while the report’s authors “created their own parameters”.

Of the 25 companies analyzed, only one, shipping group AP Moller-Maersk, was found to have “reasonable integrity” in its climate goals. Three other companies – Apple, Sony and Vodafone – are said to have “moderate” integrity.

The remaining 21 were found to have low or very low integrity in their climate targets.

Because net zero goals can include using carbon offsets for emissions, they do not necessarily require a company to cut its actual emissions.

The 25 companies selected by taking the world’s largest companies by committed revenue did not hit the net target, but with a maximum of five companies per country and two companies per sector. Financial businesses were excluded.

The report was critical Science Based Goals Initiativeawarded “1.5C compatible” emissions target certifications to 16 out of 25 companies, saying there were “holes” in the certification process.

The SBTi said it “welcomes” the monitoring and the differing conclusions between its ratings system and the new report as a result of differences in the choice of base years and emissions calculations. “triple scope”, including conclusions generated indirectly by an end user of the company.

SBTi says it is reviewing a range of three criteria and will update its methodology later this year.

Several companies analyzed in the report, including Unilever, BMW and Accenture, said they disagreed with the characterization of their climate goals.

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