COP25: A showcase for green and polluting industries

The seeming paradox did not escape to anyone that will visit the COP: two of the ten companies that more greenhouse gases are emitted in 2018 in Spain were spon

COP25: A showcase for green and polluting industries

The seeming paradox did not escape to anyone that will visit the COP: two of the ten companies that more greenhouse gases are emitted in 2018 in Spain were sponsors of high-level Climate Summit held in December in Madrid, Endesa and Iberdrola. Large multinational corporations took advantage of the event to promote their green commitment. “Don't buy Coca-Cola” read the slogan that the brand of drinks tapizó red canopies of the city. Below, in smaller print, it read: “If not let's recycle together”.

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The summit damn that has reinforced the image of Spain's Climate Summit fails in its goal of regulating carbon markets

what Was the COP 25 a showcase for big companies to do what is known as greenwashing, or washing green face? Environmental organizations believe that yes, and agree with them the criticism of anonymous citizens in social networks. The companies defend it and ensure that its policy of reduction of emissions and their environmental commitment are unwavering. Coca-Cola, for example, ensures that in 2022 the containers of PET plastic in Spain will contain 50% of recycled PET. Currently have 25%.

Advertising of Coca-Cola during the summit in Madrid.

For Ecologists in Action, the COP has been “a paradigmatic case of green washing” of companies that “engage in a conflict of interest very clear.” On the one hand, explains his spokesperson, Yago Martínez, for their “large interests in fossil fuels, either because they are energy companies, either because it is banks such as Santander or BBVA, which invest in thousands of millions of euros”. The sponsorship, he adds, “it gives them the opportunity to present themselves as green businesses, simply by the fact of joining a climate summit”. And adds that, thanks to the financial contribution have a visibility (own stands, conference spaces,...) is very superior to that of the civil society. “The weight of these multinational companies, at a summit where they meet the Governments to negotiate, it is disproportionate,” he stresses.

The Ministry of Ecological Transition is not clarified, at the request of THE COUNTRY, much contributed by each sponsor to the event. In total, of the € 50 million cost of the summit, the sponsors contributed with the 20%.

Companies with the most emissions

greenhouse gases

The ten companies more pollutants are added to 25.3% of the total CO2 emissions

Emissions

2018

in million

tonnes

% on

total

of

Spain

30,2

Endesa

Repsol-Petronor

Naturgy

EDP

Arcelormittal

Cepsa

Viesgo

Iberdrola

Cemex

LafargeHolcim

to 9.3%

3,3%

2,8%

by 2.7%

1,8%

1,4%

1,2%

1,0%

0,9%

0,9%

10,6

9,2

8,9

5,9

4,7

3,8

3,3

3,1

2,9

Source: Observatory of Sustainability.

THE COUNTRY

Companies with more emissions of gases

greenhouse in Spain

The ten companies more pollutants are added to 25.3% of the total CO2 emissions

% respect

total

Spain

Emissions in 2018

millions of tons

30,2

Endesa

Repsol-Petronor

Naturgy

EDP

Arcelormittal

Cepsa

Viesgo

Iberdrola

Cemex

LafargeHolcim

to 9.3%

3,3%

2,8%

2,7%

1,8%

1,4%

1,2%

1,0%

0,9%

0,9%

10,6

9,2

8,9

5,9

4,7

3,8

3,3

3,1

2,9

Source: Observatory of Sustainability.

THE COUNTRY

Companies with the most emissions

greenhouse gases

The ten companies more pollutants are added to 25.3% of the total CO2 emissions

Emissions

2018

in million

tonnes

% on

total

of

Spain

30,2

Endesa

Repsol-Petronor

Naturgy

EDP

Arcelormittal

Cepsa

Viesgo

Iberdrola

Cemex

LafargeHolcim

to 9.3%

3,3%

2,8%

by 2.7%

1,8%

1,4%

1,2%

1,0%

0,9%

0,9%

10,6

9,2

8,9

5,9

4,7

3,8

3,3

3,1

2,9

Source: Observatory of Sustainability.

THE COUNTRY

The concept of greenwashing comes from the seventies, “when they begin to occur the first waves of environmental awareness”, explains Ignasi Carreras, a professor at the Department of General management and Strategy of Esade, and member of its Institute for Social Innovation. “The companies understood that they had to give a positive image even though their performances were not at the height,” he adds. Then there were no Internet or social networks. That's why it says Careers that now there is more talk of greenwashing. But also that “it is more difficult to do” because it is easier to meet the commitments of the companies and check whether they are realistic and are met.

“Greenwashing is when someone presumes and does nothing”, they complain about sources of energy. From another of them point to oil, chemical, and manufacturers of cars, they say, “are the ones who are hindering the process, and washing out your image. Why not sponsor or support the COP, because they don't want changes”.

“by 2022 we will not have coal; it will be replaced by renewables,” says a spokesman for Endesa, which adds that they're going to invest 7,000 million euros in shares by the weather until this year. Endesa is, with almost 31 million tonnes, the Spanish company that more CO2 issued into the atmosphere in 2018 (9% of the total), according to a report by the Observatory of Sustainability published just before the COP. The company says that in 2005 it emitted 50 million tonnes and that in 2019 have fallen from 20 million.

Iberdrola, the eighth company with more emissions in Spain, ensures that it has shut down 15 coal-fired plants and oil and has communicated its intention to close the last two coal that are left, both in Spain. “Iberdrola is committed to reducing its emissions of CO2 by 30% by 2020 —target already achieved— and 50% by 2030 with respect to their levels of 2007,” says a spokesman for the who, he says, is already the leading power in the world without generation with coal.

The economist Gregorio Martín de Castro, professor of Strategy and Sustainable Business from the Complutense University and author of studies on this phenomenon, believes that, “there is part of greenwashing” in the deployment of the large companies in the COP. Distinguishes between several levels in this practice: “From knowingly lie or hide bad environmental outcomes and communicate them as if they were positive to try to minimize them with green advertising, and I think that this is the case.” Companies are more likely to do so, he adds, when they are in sectors that are highly polluting and have high visibility.

Career notes that, with the current awareness of climate emergencies, almost all companies are forced to display a public commitment. An example of greenwashing would be to commit to have zero impact, but in 2050. “It is so long-term that is a toast to the sun,” he says. It is important to distinguish, he adds, between the statements cosmetic and the real transformations of the processes. And puts two examples of success: the Nike, “which radically changed the design of their products”, and from a company called Interface, worldwide leader in the manufacture of carpets. “In 1995, it committed to have an impact 0 in 2020, and what has been fulfilled. They have promised that by 2040, its production will be able to sequester carbon at a high level and are already working on a prototype,” he adds.

the interests of The banks in fossil fuels

Another expert of a large Spanish consultant, who asks not to be quoted, mentions the banks and their interests in fossil fuels. Two large Spanish banks, Santander and BBVA, is promised during the COP to be carbon neutral by 2020 in their daily work. That is to say, their offices will have carbon dioxide emissions that are equal to zero, either because it does not issue or because the compensate.

A report published recently by the NGO BankTrack and endorsed by other 163 organizations around the world revealed that 33 large banks have been funded with $ 1.9 trillion to various companies in the sector of fossil fuels since the adoption of the Paris Agreement in 2015. Among them are the BBVA and the Santander.

Asked about the funding of coal and oil, the BBVA responds that his “total exposure to fossil fuels over the entire asset is 3,67%”. He adds that more than not to provide funding to certain customers, what it does is “help them to work in the transition to other more sustainable models”.

The Santander stresses that occupies position 31 in absolute terms, and the last position (33 of 33) in regard to the weight on the total portfolio. He adds that it is “one of the global leaders in financing sustainable projects, after being mobilized close to 50,000 million euros in the last three years.”

Updated Date: 05 January 2020, 00:00

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