16% of World's Largest Polluters Haven't Set Climate Goals

World Largest Polluters Climate Goals

A new study has found that a whopping 41 of the world's 250 most polluting companies have yet to set goals for emissions reductions. Meanwhile, the rest are lagging on setting short-term 2030 goals. Experts say that this lack of commitment could jeopardize the world’s climate and prevent countries from creating effective emission reduction policies. As a result, G7 leaders are now throwing their weight behind efforts to make emissions disclosure mandatory for corporations in the hopes that they can catch up on their Paris Agreement commitments.

Why This Matters

Just 250 companies account for about a third of global emissions; without their leadership and commitment, the world doesn’t stand a chance at halting catastrophic temperature rise. Additionally, these companies, including Amazon, Samsung, and Walmart, are some of the most valuable in the world and employ millions of people. Financial institutions say that the failure of these companies to disclose and mitigate their emissions puts the entire global economy at risk. These findings reinforce previous research that found that less than 25% of the world's largest companies are on track to meet the goals of the Paris agreement.

Plastic Waste Makers Index: 100 companies produce 90% of all single-use plastic waste generated globally. Of approximately 300 polymer producers operating globally, this small fraction hold the fate of the world’s plastic crisis in their hands. Production of single-use plastic (SUP) and contribution to single-use plastic waste is estimated and calculated in million metric tons in 2019.

Making Plans

While most of the world's top-emitting companies have at least begun to monitor their emissions, only 11% have established 2030 goals. Experts say the world must reduce its emissions by 45% by 2050 to halt climate change, and short-term goals will ensure that the world doesn't fall behind. Unfortunately, Samsung, Walmart, Home Depot, Lowes, Kroger, and Panasonic have all failed to set net-zero targets for their entire emissions profile, including oil and gas emissions.

  • But many of these companies aren't required by their governments to disclose these emissions.
  • Experts say that without mandatory disclosure, governments will be unable to mitigate their emissions properly.

"Without more incentives for 80% of the companies in these key sectors to disclose basic plans, we are unlikely to have the information necessary for markets and regulators to act constructively," said Tim Nixon, the CEO of Signal Climate Analytics.

By The Numbers

Earlier this month, G7 finance ministers expressed support for an international agreement mandating reporting. In a statement, they said:

We support moving towards mandatory climate-related financial disclosures that provide consistent and decision-useful information for market participants…This will help mobilize the trillions of dollars of private sector finance needed and reinforce government policy to meet our net-zero commitments.

Leaders say that an international agreement could be reached before COP26 in Glasgow.

Since 1965, it's estimated over 1.35 trillion metric tons of greenhouse gases have been released into the atmosphere -- and over a third can be traced back to just 20 companies. (Infographic: Visual Capitalist.)