Corporate Climate Pledges Overlook ‘Upstream’ Emissions
When a retailer or manufacturer promises to reduce its carbon footprint, you might think that means its entire footprint. In most cases you’d be wrong, as ClimateWorks found in a recent analysis. On average, most greenhouse gas reduction commitments cover less than a third of the emissions produced in delivering the company’s product to its customer.
Only four of 65 of the world’s biggest businesses that made commitments at or around the Paris climate summit included all the emissions generated across their entire supply chains in their reduction commitments, the analysis shows.
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Such “upstream” emissions, GreenBiz reports, are on average “twice that of a company’s operational emissions. That figure rises to around seven times for retailers and other consumer-facing companies.”
“The excuse we’ve been hearing from companies for a long time is that their responsibility stops at the factory gate,” said Corporate Ethics International Executive Director Michael Marx. “In fact, their responsibility starts the moment the raw material that is ultimately used to make their product is extracted from the ground.”