Climate plans from large Dutch companies often insufficient, activists say
The climate plans of large companies based in the Netherlands are still “seriously deficient,” according to Milieudefensie. After winning a climate case against Shell, the environmental organization asked 29 large companies about their plans to reduce greenhouse gas emissions. It then asked the NewClimate Institute, a renowned research agency from Cologne specializing in climate policy, to calculate the effects of these plans.
According to Milieudefensie, all companies must reduce their CO2 emissions by at least 45 percent by 2030 - as per the court ruling against Shell last year. With their current plans, the companies only achieve a 19 percent reduction, said the researchers behind the Climate Crisis Index.
Milieudefensie found the results so disappointing that it is considering new legal action. Another edition of the index will be published in a year’s time. In the meantime, companies need to “gain momentum” to improve and implement their climate policies. Milieudefensie is also starting a “legal preliminary investigation.”
Milieudefensei director Donald Pols hopes new lawsuits won’t be necessary, but he stressed that his organization is not afraid to pursue them. “We are not here to conduct lawsuits but to stop dangerous climate change. If necessary, we are willing and able to start new lawsuits,” he said.
According to the analysis by the NewClimate Institute, none of the surveyed companies has shown concrete plans that align with the Paris climate agreement. If they continue in the same vein, they will not contribute enough to limit global warming to 1.5 degrees. According to Pols, these companies are now “on a collision course” with the climate.
The business community’s plans also leave much to be desired regarding reliability. Not one company scored “high” or “fair.” Five companies have a vision of the future, which the researchers labeled “average.” These are AkzoNobel, BAM, DSM, Stellantis, and the Dutch branch of Tata Steel. In the lowest category are companies like dredging company Boskalis, meat producer Vion, tank storage company Vopak, and locations of oil companies like BP and ExxonMobil.
Credit insurer Atradius is at the bottom of the financial institutions because the company delivered “no climate goals and plans at all.” The large banks ING, Rabobank, and ABN Amro scored “low.”
A spokesperson for Atradius said in a first response that the company is “definitely” working on climate plans. But she said there are currently so many different ways of reporting these plans that it quickly becomes a bit like “comparing apples to oranges.”
According to the researchers, the companies’ plans are often neither transparent nor complete. The ultimate emissions from the use of their goods and services, called scope 3, are poorly understood. For example, Shell, which was sentenced to draw up a more ambitious climate policy in May last year, does not sufficiently include the emissions of cars that run on fossil fuels. The researchers called this flawed picture “worrying” because this is generally “the lion’s share” of emissions.
Reporting by ANP