Big Business Promises on Climate Change

Now that climate change and the pollution that each company causes is trending topic, all companies join the sustainability bandwagon (that gives them a good image) and announce plans to stop polluting,

But there are plans and plans, because many of them are only dedicated to issuing an indefinite series of good intentions to be fulfilled in 30 years (towards the year 2050), and in the meantime we will see.

But since the issue is very current (and very urgent) there are many independent organizations that analyze what companies say and make comparisons with reality. And as almost always the comparisons are odious.

Today there is no president of a large company who does not say that they will be sustainable in a short time, and some companies that are serious (Google, Microsoft, etc …) set the year 2030 as their goal; and other less serious ones extend the term until the year 2050.

Also on the financial level there is some pressure in this regard and large investors such as BlackRock (it manages several trillion dollars) have announced their intention to ask the executives of the companies in which they invest to establish sustainability objectives for their businesses.

But it remains to be seen what they achieve, as these companies (and their managers) are under pressure for short-term economic results, and today fossil fuels make money, and in the future, God will tell.

Just to have a reference point, of the 500 companies in the S&P 500 index, only a third of them have environmental objectives, and almost half of them (about 215) have no objective in this regard.

Their managers will say what they want to, but reality is what it is.

Others that are serious like Walmart publish their emissions data and their targets (including their suppliers) and that data is monitored by independent agencies. But they are a few for the moment.

The companies that manufacture clothes have it difficult due to the fact that their suppliers are in India, Pakistan, etc … and many of them are small and get low prices based on polluting and not investing in waste treatment systems.

But they could also do it by monitoring the processes of these suppliers. It is a matter of conviction.

And in Europe the situation is not very different, with the exception of northern Europe where they are more sensitized.

The final conclusion of this reflection is that we are in the first steps to change the future of the industry, and much remains to be done. So much so that I don’t think we will reach the target set in Paris and we will exceed the 2ºC increase.

And the consequences will be whatever they’ll be, and the poorest will suffer the most. Life is that unfair.



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Amador Palacios

I am an electronic engineer with more than 40 years working in industry. I like to reflect on Technological and Social issues