Companies' climate leadership is under test and the defining question is whether they support a crucial increase of the EU climate target to 30 percent. Companies that do have established themselves as leaders in this debate and Greenpeace acknowledges them for this. The list includes companies that have expressed their support for a 30% EU climate target either in written form directly to Greenpeace or under different networks, such as The Climate Group, the Corporate Leaders Group, WWF Climate Savers.
Unilever has supported the Joint Business Declaration by The Climate Group, University of Cambridge Programme for Sustainability and WWF Climate Savers supporting a 30% EU climate target.
The IKEA Group has supported the Joint Business Declaration by The Climate Group, University of Cambridge Programme for Sustainability and WWF Climate Savers supporting a 30 percent EU climate target.
Excerpt from a letter sent to Greenpeace. "We share your (Greenpeace's) view that ambitious action from the EU will drive green growth, innovation and investment. At IKEA we are committed to a long term strategy where all IKEA Group stores and buildings will be supplied with 100% renewable energy In addition, we want to improve the IKEA Group's overall energy efficiency by 25 percent compared with 2005. "
Danone has expressed their support for a 30% EU climate target in a letter to Greenpeace saying: "Danone supports a strong and clear commitment of the EU and other countries in reducing greenhouse gas emissions. Setting an ambitious target of -30% from 1990 to 2020 seems a way to accelerate the development of innovations and the emergence of a low carbon economy."
(traduction du franÇais: 'Danone est favorable á un engagement fort et clair de l'Union europé enne et des autres pays en matié re de ré duction des é missions de gaz á effet de serre. La fixation d'un objectif ambitieux de -30% de 1990 á 2020 nous semble un moyen d'accé lé rer le dé veloppement de l'innovation et l'é mergence d'une é conomie á faible intensité carbone".)
Philips has supported the Joint Business Declaration supporting a 30% EU climate target by The Climate Group, University of Cambridge Programme for Sustainability and WWF Climate Savers.
Rudy Provoost, Member Board of Management, Royal Philips Electronics and CEO Philips Lighting said: "Now is not the time for the EU to step on the brakes and give up its leadership position. Instead the EU should speed up the transition to a low carbon society, as we firmly believe there is a wide range of benefits for consumers, the environment and the economy. At Philips we have set the ambitious target to improve the energy efficiency of our entire portfolio by 50% by 2015. We believe we can set even more ambitious targets for beyond 2015 if the EU provides a clear, ambitious and long term commitment towards a low carbon economy."
In response to an opinion piece by the environment ministers of France, Germany and the UK ("Europe needs to reduce emissions by 30%", July 15), Lloyds alongside other companies published a supportive open letter (Lay foundation for low-carbon growth, July 21) in the Financial Times.
Truett Tate, Group Executive Director (Wholesale) for Lloyds Banking Group said: "The market for low carbon goods and services is growing swiftly. However, this is a globally competitive market and measures like increasing the European emission reduction target to 30% will help to create the market conditions that will enable UK and European businesses to seize the commercial opportunities in a way that will secure competitive advantage and support economic recovery."
Google has supported the Joint Business Declaration by The Climate Group, University of Cambridge Programme for Sustainability and WWF Climate Savers supporting a 30% EU climate target.
In response to an opinion piece by the environment ministers of France, Germany and the UK ("Europe needs to reduce emissions by 30%", July 15), Deutsche Telekom alongside other companies published a supportive open letter (Lay foundation for low-carbon growth, July 21) in the Financial Times.
Excerpt of the open letter: "By moving to a higher target, the European Union will have a direct impact on the carbon price through to 2020 and deliver the economic signals that companies need if they are to continue investing billions of Euros in low-carbon products, services, technologies and infrastructure. European leadership will also help rebuild the international momentum towards an ambitious, robust and equitable global deal on climate change."
In response to an opinion piece by the environment ministers of France, Germany and the UK ("Europe needs to reduce emissions by 30%", July 15), Allianz alongside other companies published a supportive open letter (Lay foundation for low-carbon growth, July 21) in the Financial Times.
Excerpt of the open letter:
"By moving to a higher target, the European Union will have a direct impact on the carbon price through to 2020 and deliver the economic signals that companies need if they are to continue investing billions of euros in low-carbon products, services, technologies and infrastructure. European leadership will also help rebuild the international momentum towards an ambitious, robust and equitable global deal on climate change."
The company behind brands such as Puma and Gucci confirmed to Greenpeace in an email on 29th April their support for a 30 percent EU Climate target: "Given our recent new initiative and our focus at PPR HOME to work towards implementing best sustainability business practices and to build innovative businesses that deliver financial, social and environmental returns for the long run, we agree with your campaign to engage businesses to support the EU's unilateral GHG emission target to 30 percent by 2020. PPR HOME's position is one of support."
Sony has supported the Joint Business Declaration supporting a 30% EU climate target by The Climate Group, University of Cambridge Programme for Sustainability and WWF Climate Savers.
The list includes some of the companies that have expressed their support for a 30% EU climate target either in written form directly to Greenpeace or under different networks, such as The Climate Group, the Corporate Leaders Group, WWF Climate Savers
Acciona - Abengoa - Adolfo Dominguez - Allianz SE - Alpro - ARCADIS - Arjowiggins Graphic - Arkadin - Asda Stores Ltd - Atkins - Aviva - Aviva Investors - AXA - Barilla - Beluga Shipping GmbH - Better Place - BNP Paribas - Boralex - Bosch Siemens Haushaltsgeraete - British Sky Broadcasting - British Telecom - Bodegas Torres - Capgemini - Carrefour - Centrica - Cisco - Climate Change Capital - The Coca Cola Company - Crédit Agricole - Danone - Deutsche Bahn - Deutsche Telekom / T-Systems - Danfoss - DHV Group - DONG Energy - Elektrolux - Elopak - EnBW - Eneco - Eurostar - EWE - F&C Asset Management - Ferrero - First Solar - Google - Hubert Burda Media Holdings - H&M - IKEA - If P&C Insurance - InterfaceFLOR - James Finlay Ltd - John Lewis Partnership - Johnson Controls Inc - Johnson Matthey - Kingfisher - Lafuma Groupe - L’Oreal - Lloyds Banking Group - MANGO - Marks & Spencer - Magyar Telekom - M+W4 Group - National Grid - Nestlé - Nike - Nokia Siemens Networks - Novo Nordisk - Otto Group - Philips Lighting - PPR Group - Puma - Public Power Corporation - Rewe - Rockwool - RSA - Sainsburys - Schüco International - Scottish & Southern Energy - Skandinaviska Enskilda Banken (SEB)- SKAI Group of Companies - Sol Meliá - Sony Europe - Sorgenia Energy - Statkraft - Standard Life - Sveaskog - Swiss RE - Tchibo - Tesco - Thames Water - The Co-operative Group - Tryg - Unibail-Rodamco - Unicredit - Unilever - United Biscuits - Vattenfall Europe - Velux - Vestas - Vodafone - WSP Group - Xella
Companies obstructing progress by doing nothing, next to nothing or actively blocking the way. Businesses have a major impact on governments and for major companies to sit on their hands or whisper while at the same time hiring lobbyists that actively block better climate targets is the opposite of leadership.
As partner, BP Europe enjoys an “important status” in BusinessEurope, the vocal anti-30 percent lobby group. It is a corporate member of the European Petroleum Industry Association, EUROPIA and BP Chemicals is a corporate member of CEFIC, the EU chemical industry association, which described moving the EU’s 2020 target as “unacceptable”. As part of the Alliance for Competitive European Industry, both lobby groups sent a letter after the Copenhagen UN climate conference in January 2010 to the then presidents of the European Council, Parliament and Commission calling on the EU “to stick to the 20% emission reduction target.” BP has failed to distance itself from the position of the lobby organisations it is a member of.
The company boasts of a “decade-long track record of advocating and taking precautionary action to address climate change.” But it is doing its utmost to undermine national and international regulations to cut emissions. It funds climate change denial organisations in the UK and US, including the Institute for Economic Affairs. In the 2010 US Senate race, BP funded mostly candidates who were against climate legislation or deny it is a problem.
BP has rebranded itself as ‘Beyond Petroleum’, but it has scaled back investment in renewables and prioritised dangerous and carbon-intensive extraction projects, including tar sands in Canada and deep water drilling. It was found to have rewritten EU policy on carbon capture and storage, securing millions of Euros of public money better invested in proven renewable energy and energy efficiency technologies.
Veolia will not put its weight behind a 30 percent climate target, but is happy to be a partner that enjoys an “important status” in BusinessEurope that is vigorously lobbying against a 30 percent EU climate target.
Furthermore through the syndicate Fédération Professionnelle des Entreprises de l’Eau, Veolia is a member of MEDEF, which speaks out against a 30 percent target. Marc Reneaume, assistant general manager of Veolia Eau in France, is a member of the executive council of the MEDEF.
Yet, its chief executive officer Antoine Frérot is happy to claim credit as an apparent climate leader, saying: "If our civilization is to reconnect with the environment, we need to shift from our current natural resource-hungry form of growth to a sober growth. This implies three things, best described by three rather unfamiliar words: decarbonizing, dematerializing and dehydrating the economy. Decarbonizing means exiting the world of oil, gas and coal. First, by conserving energy."
While other companies have disassociated themselves from the position of the lobby group representing it where they disagree on an issue, Veolia shies away from this and deserves the title of climate laggard.
Lafarge opposes a higher climate target and made campaign contributions to US climate change deniers while enjoying generous carbon credit handouts.
The company gives itself a green image through membership of the Cement Sustainability Initiative and WWF Climate Savers, but its actions and industry links tell a different story. Lafarge is a member of the European cement association CEMBUREAU, which speaks out against a 30 percent target, saying that “moving the existing 2020 targets would be unacceptable” and stressing that the unilateral burden imposed on the European energy-intensive industry is already too high.
At the same time Lafarge earned money every year since the start of the European ETS without making corresponding emission reductions on location, because of generous allocation of free emission allowances. It will end the current trading period (2008-2012) with an estimated surplus of more than 23 million allowances, worth over €300m.
Two letters make it clear that Lafarge has been calling through CEMBUREAU for a global climate deal before any upgrading of Europe’s commitment. Yet at the same time, in the 2010 US Senate race Lafarge made campaign contributions almost exclusively to candidates who opposed climate legislation in the US, or even denied the existence of the climate change problem. These included the Senate’s top climate change deniers James Inhofe and James DeMint.
ArcelorMittal enjoys an “important status” in BusinessEurope and is a prominent member of the European Confederation of Iron and Steel Industries (EUROFER), two lobby organisations actively opposing a 30 percent climate target.
EUROFER argues the EU would be foolish to unilaterally increase its climate objective, suggesting that such a move would be “fatal”. Yet at the same time ArcelorMittal’s lobby group in the US, American Iron and Steel Institute, has done its utmost to ensure that the US doesn’t act either, by first blocking emission reduction targets under the proposed cap-and-trade legislation and then under the Clean Air Act. ArcelorMittal has funded senators who are prominent climate change deniers.
ArcelorMittal has threatened to relocate outside Europe and attempted to challenge the EU Emissions Trading Scheme (EU ETS) rules in court. As a result of generous allocation rules for steel producers under the EU ETS, rather than being asked to cut its emissions, ArcelorMittal has been allowed to increase them. Even before the recession, the company had many more permits than it needed, which has allowed it to make profits out of emission allowances it got for free – without taking any climate measures. In 2009, it made a profit of $108m from the sale of carbon allowances, followed by $140m in 2010. ArcelorMittal has the potential to make over €1bn profits from the scheme by 2012.
The future doesn’t look different. Member states agreed rules for giving free allowances to energy-intensive industries in Europe from 2013, but these were watered down so that, combined free allowances from the last phase, some of Europe's biggest emitters are likely to continue polluting unabated until 2020.
Maersk does not support a 30 percent climate target. It is a leading member of lobby group Danish Industry, which signed a recent letter from BusinessEurope to the European Commission warning it not to support a 30 percent climate target or changes to the flawedETS.
Maersk’s director, Lars-Erik Brenøe, is on the main board of Danish Industry and Maersk’s head of public affairs, Anders Würtzen, is in the committee for climate and energy policy, so the company clearly has influence in the association.
Given that Maersk emits the equivalent to three quarters of Denmark’s total carbon emissions, it admits it has a climate problem. Its website says it is committed to reducing its emissions by at least 13 percent by 2012 and it is part of The Low-Carbon Leaders Project developed by WWF.
However, Maersk Oil is searching for oil in the Arctic, one of the world’s most vulnerable environments. It is also exploring carbon capture and storage projects, an expensive and uncertain technology that threatens to channel public money away from clean energy development.
VW Group aims to be the world’s most eco-friendly carmaker, yet opposes a 30 percent European climate target and strong fuel efficiency standards in Europe. It is on the board of the European Automobile Manufacturers Association ACEA that has lobbied against a 30 percent EU climate target and wrote to Greenpeace saying: “The Volkswagen Group is unable to support – particularly after Copenhagen – any EU climate protection policy which puts jobs at risk and results in de-industrialisation in Europe.” Europe’s energy commissioner Günther Oettinger used the same expression in February when arguing against a 30 percent climate target.
One in five cars sold in Europe is a VW and is responsible for more than 5 million tonnes of CO2 emission per year. The company claims to take its particular climate responsibility seriously. A sustainability report says: “We aim to be the most eco-friendly automaker in the world,” through “setting new ecological standards in automobile manufacturing in order to put the cleanest, most economical and at the same time most fascinating cars on the road.” Yet VW fought existing EU fuel efficiency standards and believes that the 2020 target for fuel efficiency is too challenging.
Accenture likes to talk up its thought leadership on sustainability and mitigating climate change, but its chief executive officer is at the heart of a lobby organisation vigorously opposing a 30 percent climate target. Pierre Nanterme is on the executive council and chairman of the economy commission of Mouvement des Entreprises de France (MEDEF), a sister organisation of BusinessEurope. Both BusinessEurope and MEDEF vocally lobby against a 30 percent climate target.
Accenture claims it is a responsible business. Its website boasts: "Our global delivery footprint, coupled with our understanding of local sustainability drivers, gives us the ability to deliver customized sustainability solutions anywhere in the world." An Accenture micro-site is dedicated to "Copenhagen and beyond: a pragmatic approach to mitigating climate change." However when asked about its policy position on the important increase of the EU climate target to 30 percent, it chose to stay silent and failed to distance itself from the groups actively lobbying against this crucial legislation.
Solvay presents itself as a climate champion, but evades questions about its position on a 30 percent climate target and actively campaigns against climate measures in the US.
Its chief executive officer Christian Jourquin has stated that it is a personal priority to reposition the company as a “sustainable actor at the heart of the fight against climate change.” He has much work to do. In the 2010 US Senate race Solvay supported only candidates who were against climate legislation or denying climate change altogether, according to research from Climate Action Network Europe.
Meanwhile, the chief executive of Solvay’s US subsidiary, Richard Hogan, co-founded the secretive new Coalition for Responsible Regulation lobby group, which is at the forefront of efforts to undermine the Obama administration’s climate policy. A blizzard of legal challenges against the Environmental Protection Agency’s attempts to regulate emissions were filed in Hogan’s name.
Solvay is a key member of the Belgian chemical industry federation Essencia, which states the EU should stick to its current climate ambition. Jourquin was chairman of the European Chemical Association CEFIC in 2009, when the body opposed anything beyond the current emissions target. Solvay enjoys an “important status” in BusinessEurope one of the most vocal industry groups lobbying against 30 percent, two documents make clear.
Solvay bought climate laggard Rhodia this April.
Rhodia has told Greenpeace it is against a 30 percent climate target. Its chief executive officer Jean-Pierre Clamadieu is president of the sustainable development commission of the French employers’ federation MEDEF, which is actively lobbying against a 30 percent climate target. He has stated publically his opposition to a 30 percent target as long as there is no progress in other world regions.
Despite this, Rhodia dubs itself ‘responsible chemistry’. It claims to support the Kyoto agreement and has launching an approach to sustainable development it calls the ‘Rhodia way’.
© GREENPEACE 2011