The big myth in the corporate sustainability world is the idea of ‘win-win’ — that a company can maximize profits and still stay environmentally friendly. We have 30 years of data that we can look at and say that doesn’t work. — Roland Geyer, a professor of industrial ecology at the University of California, Santa Barbara
The big myth in the corporate sustainability world is the idea of ‘win-win’ — that a company can maximize profits and still stay environmentally friendly. We have 30 years of data that we can look at and say that doesn’t work. — Roland Geyer, a professor of industrial ecology at the University of California, Santa Barbara
Corporate Climate Pledges Often Ignore a Key Component: Supply Chains
For nearly 30 years, the pharmaceutical giant Bristol Myers Squibb has proclaimed it’s been setting and meeting ambitious targets around energy and greenhouse gas emissions. These days, those goals include being “carbon neutral” by 2040.

The equipment manufacturer Caterpillar, Texas Instruments, Exxon Mobil and the Walt Disney Company have all made similar claims about the sustainability of their operations and have set objectives to reduce emissions.

But something is missing from these lofty corporate goals: any accounting of significant emissions from their supply chains or waste from their products. For some companies, those can total as much as 95 percent of their overall contributions to greenhouse gases.

A closer look at corporate America’s claims that it’s accelerating efforts to tackle the climate crisis — made in marketing and investor presentations — reveals that many of these assertions remain quite limited and fail to make a dent in the largest source of carbon emissions: the global supply chains that power the modern economy and have become dinner-table conversation amid massive disruptions this year.

Emissions from supply chains and waste are “hugely important,” said Tom Cumberlege, an associate director at The Carbon Trust, which works with companies, governments and others to create carbon-reducing plans. “Any company that isn’t measuring the full value chain is not coming to grips with a key piece of their impact.”

... “The planet doesn’t care about carbon intensity,” said Roland Geyer, a professor of industrial ecology at the University of California, Santa Barbara. “The climate is being hurt by absolute emissions.”

... “The big myth in the corporate sustainability world is the idea of ‘win-win’ — that a company can maximize profits and still stay environmentally friendly,” Professor Geyer said in an interview. “We have 30 years of data that we can look at and say that doesn’t work.”
Read the full article: https://www.nytimes.com/2021/11/02/business/corporate-climate-pledge-supply-chain.html