Data: How top companies make ‘net zero’ claims but greenwash

Out of the companies who are members of the Forbes 2,000, almost 300 are at risk of “net zero greenwash” because of their policy engagement, according to new research from InfluenceMap.

The study considered companies to be at risk of net zero greenwash if they had announced a net zero or similar target, but weren’t sufficiently supportive of policy to deliver the Paris Agreement to keep global temperatures at less than 1.5C above pre-industrial levels.

Companies included among the 21.5% assessed as being at risk of greenwash were Chevron, ExxonMobil, Repsol and Glencore International, and each had announced a net zero or similar target.

As well as the 21.5% at serious risk of net zero greenwash, a further 36.5% were assessed as being at moderate risk of net zero greenwash.

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It comes as climate activists including Extinction Rebellion have raised the issue  and criticised the term net zero. They have carried out disruptive actions, including interrupting a net zero festival and disrupting meetings between politicians and fossil fuel groups.

“These findings should be a wake-up call for businesses across the globe. It’s clear that while companies are quick to showcase their climate commitments, too many of them are not backing that up with support for positive government policy on climate,” said Climate and Nature Solutions CEO Catherine McKenna.

She continued: “Not only are many companies choosing to undermine their own climate commitments by lobbying against climate action, their net zero commitments are simply not credible. We need businesses to create a climate ambition loop where private sector leadership encourages and reinforces ambitious government action”.

EU Platform on Sustainable Finance chair Helena Viñes Fiesta added: “A clear message from the UN HLEG’s ‘Integrity Matters’ report is that corporate net zero commitments must be accompanied by support for governments to devise and implement the policy framework the climate crisis demands”.

“InfluenceMap’s new research highlights how far the corporate sector has to go on the climate policy engagement issue and, indeed, that many net zero statements from large global companies may run the risk of ‘net zero greenwash’ on this basis.”

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