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Swiss multinationals slammed over ‘misleading’ climate claims

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Net zero means that the greenhouse gas emissions produced by a company are counterbalanced by an equal amount of emissions that are reduced Keystone / Narong Sangnak

Large international companies are accused of making misleading net-zero promises as the world strives to reduce greenhouse gases that are harmful to the environment. Swiss ones like Nestlé and Holcim, according to a report published on Monday. 

The climate goals and plans of 24 companies were scrutinised in a study by the German think tank New Climate Institute. The problem, the authors found, is that companies on average only want to reduce around a third of their CO₂ emissions by 2050. They would compensate for the rest, for example by planting trees.

“If all companies followed the example of the 24 companies surveyed with their compensation strategy, we would need two to four planets to fulfill all of these promises through compensation,” says study co-author Reena Skribbe.

The report assessed the transparency and integrity of corporate climate targets towards 2030 and beyond. Food and beverages multinational Nestlé scored “very low” on both fronts. Cement-maker Holcim fared somewhat better with “reasonable transparency” and “moderate integrity.”

“Inadequate and ambiguous net-zero target setting distracts from the most important issue at hand: immediate and economy-wide emission reductions towards 2030,” the report said. “Companies’ climate pledges for 2030 fall well short of the required ambition according to latest science.”

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SWI - a branch of Swiss Broadcasting Corporation SRG SSR

SWI - a branch of Swiss Broadcasting Corporation SRG SSR