Multinational companies obstructing climate change legislation

16th September 2015


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  • Reporting ,
  • Fossil fuels ,
  • EU ,
  • Stakeholder engagement

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IEMA

Almost half of the 100 largest global industrial companies and many trade associations are obstructing climate change legislation, according to research organisation InfluenceMap.

Using research methods developed by the Union of Concerned Scientists, the researchers developed a quantitative assessment platform to evaluate 100 leading plcs and 30 trade associations on their collective influence over climate change policy and legislation. It found that 45 out of 100 leading companies are obstructing such policy.

Under the A to F ranking system adopted by InfluenceMap, fast-moving consumer goods company Unilever scored highest, with a B. This was because of the company's generally positive influence on climate change policy, said InfluenceMap. Technologies companies, such as Google and Cisco, also ranked highly, whereas fossil fuel companies ranked lowest of the 45 companies assessed, scoring mostly E- and F.

Commenting on the findings, research director Thomas O'Neill said; "More attention needs to paid to companies as political entities whose communications on climate are arguably more important than their direct environmental impacts."

InfluenceMap said the findings show that corporate influence on climate extends beyond lobbying activities to include access to decision makers and public dialogue on climate change science and policy, often through advertising, public relations and social media campaigns, as well as through trade associations and advocacy groups.

InfluenceMap says even some of the best performers in their rankings system are still using trade associations to lobby on climate change issues on their behalf, even though their own policies are at odds with the views of the lobbyists. The European trade body BusinessEurope is cited as having an "active and obstructive engagement with numerous strands of climate policy and regulations".

Gretchen Goldman, Union of Concerned Scientists said: "More and more, we're seeing companies rely on their trade groups to do their dirty work of lobbying against comprehensive climate policies. It is unacceptable that companies can obstruct climate action in this way without any accountability."

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