by GRAIN 17 March 2021
Corporations are, without a doubt, the number one obstacle to meaningful action on the climate crisis. These almighty actors have spent the past two decades undermining scientific consensus, blocking meaningful legislation and greenwashing their own responsibility. Even the last ditch Paris Agreement, with its lame voluntary commitment to keep the world to a still disastrous 1.5 degrees of warming, has done nothing to stop corporate greed from taking the planet to the brink.
Since the signing of the Paris Agreement in 2015 and its promise of market-based solutions, few corporations have even done the bare minimum to disclose their emissions, let alone to take actions to reduce them. Out of the world’s top 500 corporations, just 67 have made commitments to reduce their emissions in line with the Paris Agreement.1 The vast majority of corporations are still not disclosing their emissions, let alone taking any actions to address them.2 Moreover, while not a single global financial corporation has yet adopted policies to curb the burning of fossil fuels, the money they channel to fossil fuel companies has increased every year since the Paris Agreement was adopted, totalling over $2.7 trillion in the past five years.3
Food and agriculture companies are among the worst performers. Attention to their role in the climate crisis is increasing, with the latest IPCC report estimating that the food system accounts for up to 37% of total global GHG emissions.4 Yet, of the top 35 global meat and dairy companies, the worst climate offenders within the sector, just one of them has committed to reduce its absolute emissions in line with the Paris targets. This has not prevented these companies from receiving billions of dollars from global financial corporations, including those that claim to be committed to responsible investing.5
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