They plant trees, finance environmental projects, buy CO2 certificates or advertise ecological investments: companies do a lot for a climate-friendly image. However, according to current data from the Corporate Climate Responsibility Monitor, companies are rarely as green as they pretend to be. Researchers from the NewClimate Institute and experts from Carbon Market Watch wanted to know which companies are really committed to climate protection and which are only greenwashing. To do this, they checked the climate protection promises of 24 global companies – and revealed them to be completely inadequate.

A report by ESG Book, a leading provider of sustainability data, comes to a similarly devastating conclusion. According to the study, world leaders have done nothing to prevent pollution and curb climate change since 2018. Instead, they continue to contribute to extreme global warming. According to the study, 45 percent support global warming of almost three degrees. In order to prevent the worst consequences of climate change, however, the temperature must not rise above 1.5 degrees in the coming years compared to the period before 1990 – say climate scientists and the Paris climate targets.

According to the ESG analysis, only 22 percent of the 500 largest listed companies in the world have this goal in mind. “Our data shows a clear message: we need to do more, and we need to do it fast,” Daniel Klier, CEO of ESG Book, told US broadcaster CNN. But “without a fundamental shift in the way the world economy works, it’s not obvious how we can achieve significant change.” At the beginning of the year, researchers were able to show in a study that climate and prosperity, productivity and consumption do not necessarily go together.

In the ESG analysis, companies were assigned “temperature scores” based on public emissions data and reduction targets to determine their contribution to climate protection. Both emissions that a company emits through its own business and those that occur through the use of products from other companies were taken into account.

Result: In the EU, the UK and India, the number of companies complying with the Paris climate targets has remained the same since 2018. The ESG report shows that some companies have not even disclosed their emissions. The Climate Monitor also confirms this and also proves that these are mainly companies that tend to have little integrity. For example, entire areas of the value chain would not be taken into account when calculating emissions. The same applies to the supply chain.

However, Chinese and US companies made progress. Five years ago, 11 percent of US companies committed to the Paris climate goals, now it is 20 percent. In China, the number has increased from three to twelve percent since 2018.

“What’s encouraging is that we know which levers to pull, and many of these companies are much more active now. But as the data shows, we’re not necessarily all moving at the right pace,” CEO Klier comments on the results. He believes that a combination of stricter government measures, changes in consumer behavior and technological breakthroughs are necessary for changes to take place in companies. Pension funds are also an opportunity to invest in renewable energies.

According to the International Energy Agency (IEA), investments in solar energy will overtake those in oil production for the first time this year. IEA Director Fatih Birol said in May that for every $1 spent on fossil fuels, nearly $2 goes into “clean energy.” Still, $1 trillion is expected to flow into oil, gas and coal this year — too much to reach net-zero emissions by 2050.

Quellen: Corporate Climate Responsibility Monitor, ESG Book, International Energy Agency, CNN