In the past few years, the American business community has made a series of commitments to reduce emissions. According to Ceres, a non-profit organization advocating corporate sustainability, 92% of companies in the Standard & Poor’s 100 Index (an index of leading stocks in the United States) have announced their intention to reduce at least some of their carbon emissions.
But do these companies really plan to change their business practices, and in some cases their entire business model, to meet the scale of the challenge? Or are these promises just greenwashing?
A convincing way to assess how serious companies are in achieving their goals is to see if they are lobbying for policy changes in the state legislature and Washington to reduce emissions more easily and cheaply.But one New report from Ceres The report released on Tuesday found that in the past five years, only 40% of S&P 100 companies have contacted lawmakers at the state or federal level to advocate for science-based climate policies.
“Companies that are not actively lobbying for science-based climate policies are actually fighting themselves,” Steven Rostein, managing director of Ceres’ Sustainable Capital Market Accelerator, said in a statement. Rosstein said they “are taking risks with their reputation and financial performance.”
The report also examines the company’s membership in trade groups that actively oppose climate policy, such as American Chamber of CommerceNearly three-quarters of the companies are members of the group, and only 7% of companies disclosed that they have pushed the Chamber of Commerce to change its position on climate change issues. Apple is the only company to leave the group due to climate issues.
Many of the companies on the list are oil and gas companies and utility companies, and it is not surprising that they lack enthusiasm for climate policy. But the overall low participation of the company is important.Earlier this year, Senator Sheldon Whitehouse of Rhode Island Tell Grist The lack of corporate lobbying to support Capitol Hill’s climate policy makes it more difficult to pass these policies because the fossil fuel industry’s aggressive and financially strong campaign against such policies cannot be offset.
June, one ExxonMobil lobbyist was recorded Describe the company’s active struggle to reduce the climate clause in the infrastructure bill that President Joe Biden is trying to pass, including a weekly meeting with Senator Joe Manchin of West Virginia.In contrast, companies such as Apple and Google tend to sign letters supporting climate policies organized by organizations such as Google, just like a recent letter. Call for the development of clean electricity standardsBut there is no evidence that these companies often talk about the burning planet in the ears of influential senators. Ceres found that since 2017, 40% of S&P 100 companies have engaged with policy makers on climate issues, and 14% of them have only done so as part of a corporate group without spending time and effort. Energy to directly contact with legislators.
In some cases, companies not only remain silent about the climate-they also actively lobby against science-based climate policies, such as federal vehicle fuel efficiency standards and methane regulations for the oil and gas industry. The analysis identified 17 companies lobbying against their internal emissions reduction goals, including UPS, Ford and Honeywell.
Since the data covers the overall data for the past five years, it does not reflect the fact that as the pressure from the public and investors increases, some companies that previously opposed climate goals have changed in recent years.For example, part of the reason Ford is on this list is that it Previously supported Former President Donald Trump worked hard to weaken federal fuel efficiency standards.But the company changed its attitude in June 2019, when Agree to comply with California’s stricter standards.
It is unclear how much corporate climate lobbying will change since the White House has a sympathetic ear. “There are significant differences in the willingness of companies to become climate advocates under President Biden,” said Anne Kelly, Ceres’ vice president of government relations.Earlier this year, Ford introduced a new electric version of the iconic Ford F-150 pickup truck A cameo by the new president himself.
Although the overall trend reflected in the new report is not instructive, a careful analysis of the lobbying history of each company helps investors pay more and more attention to the risks of climate change to the company’s bottom line.
“This report provides a clear roadmap for investors who require companies to adopt scientific lobbying in full compliance with the Paris Agreement, and companies must pay attention to it,” said Adam Kanzer, head of Americas management at BNP Paribas Asset Management. ) Means. A statement.