COP27 – Corporate climate promises are full of greenwashing. UN expert group

COP27 – Corporate climate promises are full of greenwashing. UN expert group

  • The report aims to draw a “red line” around false claims
  • The group offers a quality checklist
  • Says fossil fuel expansion can’t be zeroed out

SHARM EL-SHEIKH, Egypt, Nov 8 (Reuters) – Pledges by companies, banks and cities to achieve net-zero emissions are often little more than greenwashing, U.N. experts said in a report on Tuesday outlining proposed new standards. : tighten net zero requirements.

The reportThe aim of drawing a “red line” issued at the COP27 climate conference in Egypt on false claims of progress in the fight against global warming could confuse consumers, investors and policymakers.

At last year’s climate talks in Glasgow, UN Secretary-General Antonio Guterres appointed 17 experts to review the integrity of non-state net zero commitments amid concerns about “an excess of confusion and a lack of confidence” around corporate climate claims.

“Many of these net-zero promises are little more than empty slogans and hype,” said group president and former Environment Canada minister Catherine McKenna at a press conference announcing the report.

“Net zero false claims drive up costs that everyone will ultimately pay,” he said.

Regulators around the world are beginning to impose tougher rules on what activities can be considered environmentally friendly, but progress is uncertain, and campaigners and activists are increasingly turning to the courts to challenge weak claims.

On Tuesday, the official Australia’s corporate watchdog said it is investigating several companies for greenwashing, in which a company or group makes exaggerated claims about the environmental impact of its products or practices.

Meanwhile last month. UK Financial Control It has proposed new rules for funds and their managers from 2024 to prevent consumers from being misled by their climate credentials.

About 80% of global emissions are now covered by pledges that commit to achieving net zero emissions.

The report set out a list of recommendations that companies and other non-governmental entities should follow to ensure the credibility of their claims. For example, a company cannot claim to be net zero if it continues to build or invest in new fossil fuel infrastructure or deforestation.

The report also rejects the use of cheap carbon credits to offset ongoing emissions as a viable net-zero strategy and recommends that companies, financial institutions, cities and regions focus on direct emissions rather than carbon intensity; product unit.

The report was “potentially very significant depending on the traction it gets,” said Erik Christian Pedersen, head of responsible investments at Nordea Asset Management.

“If this report becomes the legal standard by which to measure whether or not the net zero commitment is bona fide, it could provide ammunition for the lawsuits and regulatory action that is so desperately needed to address the lack of climate action.” more expensive at the individual company level.”

The report “gives companies, investors, cities, regions and, indeed, countries a clear statement about what ‘good’ looks like,” said Thomas Hale, a global public policy researcher at the University of Oxford and co-leader of Net Zero. A tracker project that measures the effectiveness of such pledges.

“We need to be clear that the majority of net zero targets are not on track,” he told Reuters, noting that the tracker found that only half of companies with pledges had solid plans.

Theresa Anderson, global lead for climate justice at poverty alleviation non-profit ActionAid International, says corporations have “for too long hid behind mere net-zero declarations and carbon offset initiatives, with very little intention of actually doing the hard work of transforming and reducing emissions. “

“These recommendations will be aimed at keeping them in line and closing any loopholes.

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Reporting by Gloria Dick and Simon Jessop; editing by Richard Valdmanis, Ed Osmond, and Lisa Shumaker

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