According to a survey of 25 corporations, many of the largest companies in the world are not meeting their climate change targets.
According to the New Climate Institute report, they also exaggerate and misreport their progress.
According to the study, Google, Amazon and Nestle are some of those who fail to make changes quickly enough.
As more people want green products, corporations are being pressured to reduce their environmental impact.
BBC News was informed by some companies that they did not agree with certain methods in the report. They also stated that they are committed to taking steps to reduce climate change.
According to the report, 5% of global greenhouse gas emissions are attributed to the firms studied. This means that although they have a large carbon footprint, they still have enormous potential to be leaders in efforts to reduce climate change.
The study states that “the rapid acceleration in corporate climate pledges combined with fragmentation of approaches makes it more difficult than ever for people to discern between genuine climate leadership and unsubstantiated.”
Thomas Day, study author, said that his team initially wanted to find good corporate practices. However, they were “frankly shocked and disappointed by the integrity of the claims made by the companies”.
Amazon stated in its statement that it set ambitious targets to combat climate change because it is a serious problem. It also said that they are committed to implementing action now more than ever. Amazon has set a goal to have all of its operations powered by 100% renewable energy by 2025, as part of our goal to achieve net-zero carbon emissions by 2040.
Nestle said: “We welcome scrutiny about our actions and commitments to climate change. The Corporate Climate Responsibility Monitor (CCRM), a report by the New Climate Institute, lacks understanding and contains inaccuracies.
The Corporate Climate Responsibility Monitor was performed by the non-profit organizations New Climate Institute, Carbon Market Watch.
The study examined the publicly disclosed strategies of firms to reduce greenhouse gas emissions to achieve net zero.
Net zero, which scientists believe the world must achieve by 2050 in order to limit global temperature rises to zero, is a goal that means the earth will not add to the greenhouse gas emissions.
It means reducing as many emissions as possible and balancing any remaining emissions by removing an equal amount.
Each company sets its own goals. Google, for example, promises to be carbon-free by 2030. Ikea, on the other hand, pledges to be climate-positive by 2030.
Anything can cause emissions, from the transport of goods to the use of energy in factories and shops. Also, the carbon footprint created by growing crops and cutting down trees counts.
Each firm was given an “integrity” rating by the study. The study found that while some corporations were doing well in reducing their emissions, all companies could do better. None received a rating of “highly integrity”.
It evaluated factors such as annual disclosure of emissions, giving breakdowns of emission sources, and making it easy to understand information.
The study concluded that, if implemented, the existing strategies would reduce emissions by 40 percent at most. This is not the 100% implied by the term “net zero”.
It states that only three of the 25 companies have committed to eliminating 90% of carbon emissions from production and supply chains. Those are Maersk, Vodafone and Deutsche Telekom.
According to the study, businesses’ language about climate pledges is also problematic. According to Mr Day, there is a wide gap between what companies claim and reality. This makes it hard for consumers to discern the truth.
He explains that companies’ bold-sounding headline claims often lack substance. Even companies doing well exaggerate the consequences of their actions.
His team spent many weeks looking through documents. Mr Day said that the average person would have difficulty making an informed decision when trying to buy furniture, technology, or food at the supermarket.
He stated that one of the most controversial areas were what are called downstream or upstream emission – which are indirectly related to a company and are also created.
According to the report, 70% of Apple’s carbon footprint comes from upstream emissions. This includes the electricity consumed by Apple users who use their phones, laptops, and other products.
These emissions were not included in many companies’ climate plans.
Ikea stated to BBC News that it welcomes “dialogue and scrutiny of companies’ climate goals and commitments” in order to ensure they are “aligned with science of 1.5degC”.
“The New Climate Institute’s new report is a positive addition to the existing one.”
Unilever said: “While we have different views on certain elements of the report, we welcome an external analysis of our progress. We have started a productive dialog with the New Climate Institute in order to see how we could meaningfully improve our approach.
Google stated to BBC News that it clearly defined its climate commitments. It also regularly reports on progress in the annual Environmental Report. Ernst & Young is responsible for our data regarding energy and greenhouse gas emissions.
Apple didn’t respond to the report directly, but it told BBC News that it has a plan for reducing its carbon footprint.
The Corporate Climate Responsibility Monitor will continue to evaluate companies’ pledges and release findings each year.
The complete list of companies that were analysed includes: Maersk Apple, Sony, Vodafone and Enel. GlaxoSmithKline. GlaxoSmithKline. Google. Hitachi. Ikea. Vale.