Hoor Asrar looks at tall Climate change promises
The Climate change promises & problem with promises is that they come with the unfortunate tendency to break. Though it is well-known that the corporate sector had made ambitious public pledges to fight climate change but it is now mentioned that many of these companies are exaggerating their goals and lacking transparency. It is widely reported that 25 high-revenue global companies have made climate change mitigation pledges across a range of sectors and countries. Now analysts have placed these companies on a measure of their transparency and integrity levels; based on a five-point scale such as high, reasonable, medium, low and very low.
Interestingly among the consumer-facing companies that scored low for transparency and integrity were Amazon and Google, while companies like Walmart and Apple displayed reasonable levels of transparency. This analysis looks at the ways companies tackle scope 1, 2 and 3 emissions. Scope 1 covers direct emissions from owned or controlled sources. Scope 2 covers indirect emissions from the generation of purchased electricity, steam, heating and cooling consumed by the reporting company. Scope 3 includes all other indirect emissions that occur in a company’s value chain. Many of the companies have met or are on track to eliminate scope 1 and scope 2 emissions but have not created a comprehensive plan to get rid of scope 3 emissions which accounts for the vast majority of emissions by those companies.
This scale came out quite shocking about the extent of creativity that some companies apply to claim a credible path to net-zero emissions and the amount of effort that it takes to reveal that. Net-zero pledges and similar targets are not what they may seem. They require detailed evaluation; in the majority of cases, they cannot be taken at face value. It is recommended that a better approach for companies to reveal whether or not they are meeting climate change targets that demand more transparency. There is currently no standardised approach for information disclosure on climate targets and actions; it required significant resources from the analysts, to understand what companies are really committing to, and to identify key details that sometimes significantly undermined these commitments.
Google scores low for transparency and integrity as its major emission sources come from product manufacturing and use electricity consumption in data centers. Though Google’s decarbonization efforts are accepted as comprehensive and innovative yet they are criticised on the pretext of Google’s reliance on controversial carbon offsetting programmes involving offsetting pollution by removing carbon elsewhere via land restoration or tree planting. It is also alleged that Google did not make it clear whether its plans are sufficient to address scope 3 emissions, which represent the majority of Google’s greenhouse gas emission footprint.
Apple, in contrast, scored reasonable in transparency and moderate in integrity. It has set a goal to achieve carbon neutrality across its entire business by 2030 and average yearly emissions reductions have shown that Apple is on target to meet this goal. Apple’s 2020 claim that it is carbon-neutral only applies to its scope 1 and scope 2 emissions, which only account for 1.5% of the company’s greenhouse gas footprint. The other 98.5% that Apple has yet to eliminate comes from goods and services for product manufacturing, AKA its scope 3 emissions.
Walmart has set reasonable goals to reduce its operational emissions to zero by 2040 with interim goals in 2025 and 2030. However, most of its emissions come from scope 3 emissions, and Walmart has not set any emissions reduction target, relying on engagement from suppliers to voluntarily reduce emissions themselves. Walmart responds that it is indeed addressing scope 3 emissions adding that the perception does not accurately characterise Walmart’s climate goals and actions and that Walmart is on track to meet science-based goals for scope 1, 2 and 3 emissions reductions set in 2016. It was also mentioned that Walmart’s employees are working with suppliers on avoiding a gigaton (1 billion metric tons) of greenhouse gas emissions by 2030 and pointed to public disclosure records that indicate how Walmart is planning to reduce scope 3 emissions.
Amazon’s ecological footprint comes from a variety of sources, given its involvement with both logistics within e-commerce and data centers for its cloud computing technology. The company made a net-zero carbon pledge for 2040, but it is alleged that this is unsubstantiated and does not have enough clarity. Amazon disputes this perception and points out that it plans on powering its operations with 100% renewable energy by 2025 and deploying 100,000 electric delivery vehicles by 2030. Questions are also raised about the Amazon pledges whether they refer to just carbon dioxide emissions or all greenhouse gases and whether Amazon plans to reach their its goal using carbon offsets over nature-based solutions. However, the reason behind its low ratings is its lack of granularity in its data. While Amazon has put forth significant efforts to test decarbonisation techniques, reduce emissions from third-parties and invest in renewables, their transparency is limited, making it difficult to assess Amazon’s efficacy on a more detailed level. TW
Hoor Asrar Rauf has remained a national swimming champion and recently Graduated from UCF-USA in Hospitality and Event Management