Tech companies yet to focus on reducing travel companies’ emissions – new report

take the change

Participants in the campaign singled out Microsoft, Google, Facebook and a group of technology and consulting companies in the classification of 230 companies. But this approach looks a bit backwards, as the results fail to include initiatives that will significantly impact business trips in the future.

Matthew Parsons

Ironically, companies that have brought virtual work practices to the masses during the pandemic are under fire in a new report that ranked 230 global companies on their efforts to reduce carbon emissions from corporate travel.

Two environmental activists have published a rating, claiming tech giants including Microsoft, Google and Facebook are not “committed to act with sufficient speed and ambition in line with the latest IPCC report.”

In fact, report authors Transport & Environment and Stand.earth believe that only 3 percent of all companies are fully compliant.

The ranking is based on nine indicators related to emissions reduction targets, reporting and air travel emissions. Companies are rated A, B, C, or D.

Activists said the airline with an “A” rating has “a commitment to an absolute reduction in air travel, some aiming to achieve a reduction target of 50 percent or higher by 2025”. These companies report their business or air travel emissions for more than a year.

Only eight companies (or 3 percent) in the ranking have an A, with Danish drugmaker Novo Nordisk taking the lead, with a target of 50 percent reduction by 2025 and transparent reporting on air travel emissions over the past three years, according to Report .

No US company received an “A” rating, and the US technology sector made up a large portion of the lowest-rated companies, with Google, Facebook and Microsoft all receiving a “D” for failing to make meaningful commitments to reduce corporate air. The activists said in a statement.

Apple received a “C” rating, and Salesforce received a “B” rating.

Most global companies have announced company-wide emissions reduction targets, but campaign advocates have taken a look at their commitment to reduce corporate air travel emissions by a certain date. Gary Cook, Director of Corporate Campaigns, said: “Despite the rapid expansion in the number of companies making ‘net zero’ or ‘climate neutral’ commitments, this analysis shows that only a few companies are committing to reducing emissions from business travel in their strategies. climate”. In Stand.earth.

blunt approach?

However, the ranking places a misleading focus on 2019 travel volumes, which seems a bit unfair considering that many global companies have developed a lot of initiatives over the past two years to cut back on future travel, or re-evaluate the purpose of business trips.

Meanwhile, this compilation coincides with the launch of their new Travel Smart campaign, which is also supported by a coalition of 12 other groups. However, they also say that this new arrangement, published last week, is just in time as business trips begin to pick up after a two-year hiatus.

“Reducing emissions associated with air travel for our employees contributes to our carbon negative commitment,” a Microsoft spokesperson told Skift, in response to the publication of the report. “As part of our newly increased carbon fees, we are charging $100 per metric ton of CO2 emitted from business trips. We will continue to increase annual fees at an accelerated rate.”

The spokesperson added that Microsoft has also joined the Sustainable Aviation Buyers Association and Eco-Skies Alliance and has partnered with Alaska Airlines and SkyNRG. They added that its partnerships and investments in sustainable aviation fuels will help accelerate the development of the SAF market by creating a stable demand signal for investors, increasing supply and reducing the cost of SAF over time.

“We are also committed to working with our suppliers to reduce their carbon footprint through our supplier’s Code of Conduct requirements, including promoting the reduction of travel emissions to act as a major lever.”

Meanwhile, Google has told Skift that it has been carbon neutral since 2007, and as part of that commitment, it’s offsetting all employee travel and commuting emissions.

“We are also working to reduce the need for business travel by encouraging the use of video conferencing tools, such as Google Meet, and facilitating sustainable employee mobility options such as public transportation, shuttle buses, carpools or electric vehicles,” a company spokesperson said. As of 2019, business travel and commuting account for less than 5 percent of Google’s total greenhouse gas emissions. “

Facebook did not respond to Skift’s request for comment.

Activists also seem to single out the tech giants because of their locations. “In California, excess commercial travel is also causing a real problem for the Amazon rainforest, with oil drilling being the main driver of deforestation in the upper Amazon,” said Dennis Auclair, travel campaign manager for Transportation and Environment. “According to a recent study by Stand.earth, 50 percent of the crude oil exported is refined from the Amazon region of California — and much of it is converted into jet fuel used by airlines flying from Las Angeles and San Francisco.”

Consulting firms, which in the pre-pandemic period were among the top spenders on air travel, received varying scores: McKinsey and Accenture earned a “D” in the rankings; PwC scored a “B”; The EY has an “A” rating.

The CDP, a global disclosure system, recently said that only 1 in 20 companies have “strong emissions, water, and deforestation targets.”

Founded 30 years ago, Transport & Environment focuses on lobbying in Europe, where it aims to shape environmental laws. It says it helped create the world’s largest carbon market for aviation, and last year it campaigned for Uber’s commitment to electrify much of its European operations.

Stand.earth, formerly known as ForestEthics, has been around for 20 years and its campaigns challenge “destructive” government and corporate practices, while also calling for greater accountability and solutions for a stable climate.

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