Big firms obstructing climate policy

FORTY-FIVE of the 100 largest global industrial companies have recently been involved in directly advocating against climate policy, whilst simultaneously pushing their own sustainability credentials.

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The figures have been published by newly-formed NGO InfluenceMap, which assessed the firms on everything from climate science transparency to their support for relevant legislation and UN treaties. The likes of BMW, BASF, Unilever and Coca-Cola were also scored according to the extent to which they are exerting their influence over the climate change debate and policy process.


Despite their public communications, few corporations have actually supported the progressive climate policies being proposed by governments globally, the researchers noted. In fact, 95% of the 100 corporations are reportedly using trade associations “to do their dirty work”.


The team discovered a lack of transparency, with “very few companies willing to publicly challenge [trade associations] despite clear misalignment between their climate positions and the actions of the associations”.


Unilever apparently breaks this obstructive trend and “supports multiple strands of climate policy globally”. Nestlé displays “similar traits although to a slightly lesser extent”, according to InfluenceMap’s report.


The research also shows that corporate influence over climate change extends beyond the activities normally associated with lobbying. Many companies now affect the public discourse on climate change science and policy through their advertising, PR, social media, and access to decision makers, as well as the use of influencers, such as trade associations and advocacy groups.


“More and more, we’re seeing companies rely on their trade groups to do their dirty work of lobbying against comprehensive climate policies,” said Gretchen Goldman, lead analyst at the Union of Concerned Scientists.