Somewhat Greener

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Training activistic shareholders

Did you know that over half of all GHG emissions globally come from just 25 companies? In the Netherlands, 30 companies are responsible for about 40% of CO2 emissions, and their plans are currently not in line with the Paris Agreement. Governments have pledged to reduce GHG emissions significantly, cutting them in half every decade and reaching net zero emissions in 2050 to keep global warming to no more than 1.5°C. But that will only work if all involved parties, including corporations, do their part.

While some corporations agree to align in scopes 1 and 2 (direct emissions from sources owned or controlled by the company—think company facilities, purchased energy, or company vehicles), many claim not to be responsible for scope 3 (indirect emissions before and after their gates—think transport, production of goods, investments, or end-of-life treatment of products), even though they decide what goods and services they buy and where they buy it, and how they promote their goods and services to customers. Defining and tackling scope 3 emissions is necessary for all stakeholders to move the world towards net zero.

However, fossil fuel companies like Shell pretend not to know what their customers do with their fuel (put it back into the ground?), and banks like ING claim only to invest in the non-destructive parts of companies, ignoring the fact that this frees up finances for other destructive practices. Instead of investing in a sustainable and equitable transition, these companies give billions of euros to shareholders. This has to stop.

Therefore, we’ve been training activistic shareholders to confront the CEO and board members of some of the most polluting companies and demand stricter climate policies to align with the Paris Agreement—reduce emissions by at least 48% in absolute terms across the entire value chain (scope 1, 2 and 3) by 2030, when compared to 2019.

We have already attended the shareholders’ meeting of Ahold Delhaize and ING and will attend the one from Unilever next week. Last Monday, we confronted the CEO and board of ING with more than 120 concerned citizens; that was very exciting! Here are some pictures!

Elise & Joy

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