Corporate net-zero commitments fall short, says carbon offset start-up

A Finnish carbon capture start-up has released a white paper analysing corporate net zero aims and has found companies are not doing enough to ensure they reduce emissions.

Compensate connects companies with climate projects to offset emissions and releases an annual white paper, with this year’s, ‘Getting the claims right’, taking aim at greenwashing.

The report found that while 683 of the 2,000 largest publicly traded companies in the world have made net-zero targets, many routinely exaggerate or misreport their progress towards these goals.

aerial shot of road surrounded by green trees

Founder of Compensate, Antero Vartia, said: ‘The climate crisis presents humanity with an unparalleled threat which – unless we come up with radical solutions – threatens our very existence. We surpassed an acceptable level of CO₂ in the atmosphere over 30 years ago and we simply cannot continue in this shared failure to remove carbon emissions. Compensate agitates on a daily basis to improve standards and pushes for those in power to take decisive climate action.’

The white paper uncovered a lack of consensus on the extent of emissions which should be included and a non-alignment between carbon neutrality and net-zero targets.

Companies which have set net zero goals decades away were also found to have no near emission reduction targets.  

The start-up said in its analysis that all greenhouse gases and emissions scopes should be accounted for in carbon reduction plans and targets should be aligned with climate science and the Paris Agreement.

Compensate also said companies must rely on carbon capture and offsetting projects to reach net-zero goals.

However, a vast majority of carbon projects do not meet basic sustainability checks, so its vital companies use high quality carbon removal credits that don’t account for emissions reductions already counted and claimed by the host country of the project.

An investigation by Greenpeace and the Guardian into 10 forest protection schemes last year found that the project’s emission reduction predictions were often inaccurate and inconsistent.

Greenpeace has criticised carbon offsetting in the past, as it believes it is a distraction to required climate action and does not cut fossil fuel emissions.

In related news, three climate campaign groups are challenging the government on its net zero strategy in the High Court, arguing it falls short of legal obligations to combat the climate crisis.

Photo by Geran de Klerk


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