Corporate Climate Greenwash

The Lempert Report
February 16, 2023

We're really seeing a lot more food companies, retailers putting in their annual reports how they're gonna be carbon neutral by X date. Some are 2025, some are 2030, some are 2050. In light of the UN's COP 27 climate conference in the fall, we've seen more and more companies sign on for this. In fact, big controversy for Cop 27, Coca-Cola was announced as a sponsor, and there was a backlash to that from a lot of people. But when we look at these commitments that these food companies and these food retailers are making, they're coming under question that a lot of people like Food and Water Watch are saying it's not doable. The other concern that I've got is, frankly, and you and I have talked about this a lot, people are saying, "okay, we're gonna be carbon neutral". But what they're doing is they're not changing their facilities, they're not changing their factory, they're not changing their packaging. What they're doing is they're buying carbon credits to offset it, so it goes to zero. So they're not changing what really needs to be changed. You know, they're still throwing stuff up in the atmosphere, but they're just using their money to make it sound good in their annual reports. 

Sally: Yes. And these are largely very new programs and there isn't really, anything in place for us to be able to really track this. There's not a lot of transparency people feel as to what these corporations are doing. And as to the United Nations Cop 27 Climate Conference, with Coca-Cola being the sponsor of that, some activists were put off by that because they said Coca-Cola is part of the plastic pollution problem. However, big food is here to stay and we need to learn to work with big food and to be able to make a difference and a big impact. And I think we also need to remember that smaller businesses are going to have a more difficult time implementing some of these programs because it's too costly for them. 

Sally: So, you know, there is a disconnect between activists and consumers and big food. But I think it's important that we try to somehow find some way to all work on this together. Nestle, who is the biggest food company's in the world, has been applauded for their transparency and their program and what they are doing towards regenerative agriculture. So, you know, we have to keep in mind that it's not the company so much that it's creating the carbon emissions, but the companies they source their products from. So we're looking at farms, we're looking at all of those companies that Nestle has to reach out to and create programs within, to make a difference. 

Phil: Yeah, I'm glad you pointed out and highlighted Nestle. Kudos for them for being totally transparent, really doing things down to the farmer level globally and really helping.