Hundreds of large multinational corporations are “walking the talk” on environmental stewardship, promising to help restore plundered ecosystems for profit.
But only a select few (less than 10 percent) have come close to demonstrating that their company actually “walks the talk” by issuing detailed reports to shareholders and the public.
A new report has found that a third of the 100 corporate documents studied did not disclose the size of their ‘ecosystem restoration’ projects and nearly 80 percent did not provide concrete financial data about their company’s conservation efforts.
Some ostensibly green multinationals, including BP, Apple, and Johnson & Johnson, were particularly silent about the details of their environmental contributions, when they had such green programs.
While some companies, including Nestlé, Microsoft and General Electric, were much more forthcoming with details in their annual reports, the researchers found those companies to be outliers.
Some 90 percent of companies, all selected from the 2021 Forbes Global 500 list, did not publish a public report on even a single green result, whether touting success or admitting failure.
The lack of transparency exposes many of these giant companies to accusations of “greenwashing,” a public relations tactic undertaken by notorious corporate polluters in an effort to clean up their image more than that of any part of nature.
A new report from Science focused on sustainability reports published by 100 companies on the 2021 Forbes Global 500 list. Some seemingly environmentally friendly companies, such as BP, Apple, and Johnson & Johnson, remained silent on the details, when They had ecological programs of this type.
But some companies, including Nestlé, Microsoft and General Electric, were much more forthcoming with details in their annual reports, the researchers found.
The statistics come from a new report by collaborating scientists at several universities in the US, UK and Europe, published Thursday in Science.
As the report’s lead author, marine biologist Tim Lamont, noted, each of the company’s environmental restoration projects, regardless of quality or sincerity, were voluntary efforts that went above and beyond its legal obligations.
“We found that corporate reporting is currently underperforming and needs to be improved, yes,” Lamont told DailyMail.com.
“But we also found that two-thirds of the world’s largest companies are trying to restore ecosystems, which is encouraging.”
However, even the most conscientious and transparent corporate actors, as identified by the team’s analysis, had room for improvement.
Nestlé and Microsoft, for example, earned high marks for producing reports that included information on the ecological results of their projects and updates on their efforts to monitor the success or failure of their ecological restoration work.
But none revealed any financial information, such as the total budget of their green projects or the line-by-line costs of their efforts to restore once-pristine nature to its natural state.
“No business was perfectly reported across the board,” Lamont told DailyMail.com.
Lamont, whose focus is coral reef ecology and restoration at Lancaster University, along with colleagues at Cambridge, Northern Illinois University and elsewhere, focused on several key reporting principles as he reviewed the corporate reports.
The key questions were: Did a company report the total area reforested thanks to its tree-planting efforts? Did the company specify which terrestrial or marine ecosystem region the project would focus on?
“No company reported that it met all of the principles,” Lamont said, “but at least one company reported on all of the principles.”
However, several big-name companies failed to check some boxes.
Even very transparent environmental advocates, such as Nestlé and Microsoft, did not reveal any financial information, such as the total budget of their green projects or the line-by-line costs of efforts to restore once-pristine nature to its natural state. Above damaged corals in Indonesia
Key questions were too often left unanswered in corporate reports: Was all of their acreage reforested by their tree-planting efforts? Did the company specify which terrestrial or marine ecosystem region the project would focus on? Above deforestation in Trinidad and Tobago
Costco Wholesale, Ford Motor, IBM and BP declined to report the geographic scope and financial budget of their supposed ecosystem revitalization work, nor did they report any positive or negative results from any follow-up results.
Even the technology giant Apple, with its good public image, public climate goals and financing accelerators for environmental innovationit did not report the area of its restoration nor conduct any publicly reported ecosystem monitoring of its success.
Worse yet, the 100 studies by Lamont and his peers in the 2021 Forbes Global 500 company did not report the local human and economic impacts of their programs on the populations living in and around the regions that will be restored and returned to the wild.
In general, heal Healthcare companies proved especially uninterested in funding green programs.
None of the big companies like Johnson & Johnson, Cigna, and CVS Health even had a program to restore plundered ecosystems.
“Energy and materials companies may be more involved in restoration because they have obvious direct impacts on the environment that they are trying to take into account,” Lamont told DailyMail.com, although he admitted he could only speculate.
«The opposite may be true for healthcare companies, but we cannot be sure. In this paper we only directly evaluate the reports, not the motives or objectives.’
Despite these criticisms and the questions they raise about corporate greenwashing and disingenuous public relations, Lamont is encouraged that large companies are voluntarily funding efforts to revive forests, coral reefs and other ecosystems. first of all.
“With some improvements in the way they report, big companies could be a real positive force in this field and have a big positive impact on the challenge of restoring the world’s degraded ecosystems,” he said.
“This potential promise is important and motivates us to do well.”