Accenture, Amazon and Google Failed on Climate Change Promise Required to Align With the Paris Agreement

Tech and retail giants including Accenture, Amazon, Google and Walmart are among 25 companies not doing enough to meet their own pledges to slash greenhouse gas emissions that cause climate change, a new report finds.

The report titled "Corporate Climate Responsibility Monitor", released on Monday this week, studied the headline climate pledges  or promises of 25 of the world’s largest companies and what these companies achieved in reality. The study finds that in reality these 25-largest companies only commit to reduce their emissions by 40% on average, not 100% as suggested by their “net zero” and “carbon neutral.

According to the findings of the report, these 25-companies’ emissions targets “fall well short of the ambition required to align with the internationally agreed goals of the Paris Agreement and avoid the most damaging effects of climate change.

For an uninitiated, a Climate Pledge, by any company/business/organization, is a call to take action on the world's greatest crisis of Climate Change and to work together to build towards a safe and healthy planet for the next generations.

The study was conducted by NewClimate Institute in collaboration with Carbon Market Watch. It evaluates 25 major companies – operating across different sectors and geographies – to determine the transparency and integrity of their headline climate pledges.

The study found that none of these companies' pledges have a high degree of integrity overall. Maersk came out on top, with reasonable integrity, followed by Apple, Sony and Vodafone with moderate integrity.

Unfortunately, the majority of the companies with net zero or carbon neutrality pledges fail to put forward ambitious targets. 



Overall, the analysis finds the headline pledges of Amazon, Deutsche Telekom, Enel, GlaxoSmithKline, Google, Hitachi, IKEA, Vale, Volkswagen and Walmart have Low Integrity.

Among the "Very Low Integrity" companies, the names are -- Accenture, BMW Group, Carrefour, CVS Health, Deutsche Post DHL, E.ON SE, JBS, Nestlé, Novartis, Saint-Gobain and Unilever.

Ironically, in 2019 Amazon co-founded The Climate Pledge with Global Optimism, on the conviction that global businesses are responsible, accountable, and able to act on the climate crisis. The Jeff Bezos company had even invested in 9 renewable energy projects, in April last year. 

Just three of the 25 companies (among Moderate Integrity companies) – Maersk, Vodafone and Deutsche Telekom – clearly commit to deep decarbonisation of over 90% of their full value chain emissions. At least 5 of the companies would effectively only reduce their emissions by less than 15%, often by excluding downstream or upstream emissions in their value chain.

No companies achieved a High Integrity rating.

Integrity of corporate net-zero pledges

Net zero targets commit to reduce the analysed companies’ aggregate emissions by only 40% on average, not 100% as suggested by the term “net zero”, said the report findings.

The 25 companies assessed in this report are not necessarily a representative sample of all corporate actors with net zero targets.They represent 25 of the largest companies in the world, accounting for approximately 5% of global GHG emissions and revenues of USD 3.2 trillion in 2020.
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