Tech giants’ greenhouse gas reports lack transparency; Study

By Arya M Nair, Official Reporter
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Carbon Emissions
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Tech giants such as SAP, IBM and Google are underreporting their greenhouse gas emissions at a time of heightened scrutiny over the role of corporations in driving climate change, according to a study.

The study, published in the journal Nature Communications, evaluated scope 3 emissions, which are the result of activities from assets that are not owned or controlled by the reporting organization but have an indirect impact on its value chain, such as business travel, employee commuting, and how companies’ products are used.

Tech companies themselves have identified climate change as a key area of concern for their businesses since it poses important social and environmental issues that need to be managed.

Several tech firms have announced progressive pledges to reduce their greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions and become entirely carbon-neutral or even carbon negative. In addition to the general ambiguities in carbon disclosures, these climate action ambitions are criticized for a lack of transparency.

Focusing on 56 companies selected from Forbes Global 2000 List 2019, the study conducted by the Technical University of Munich found that on average these failed to disclose about half of their emissions.

Digital technologies accounted for 4 percent of global GHG emissions in 2020, and that percentage is expected to double to 2,02,537. The computer manufacturing industry in the United States emits 97 percent of upstream scope 3 emissions, which is higher than the industry average of 75 percent.

Mr. Christian Stoll, one of the report’s authors, said some companies such as Google’s parent Alphabet, IBM were found to have been consistent in how they reported their carbon footprint but excluded some emissions that should have been counted.

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