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Regulating climate claims and corporate climate responsibility

Buyers of carbon credits, who range from companies to individuals, use them to make various forms of climate claims. These can range from simply stating that they have funded climate action to the tune of X amount to far-fetched assertions that their activities, products or services are “carbon neutral” or “climate neutral”, or some such claim.

In fact, carbon credits used for offsetting purposes have become central components of the climate strategies of many major corporations around the world and enables them to claim to be working towards becoming “net zero” even as they continue to pollute with impunity.

Since it is impossible to truly offset emissions and because of the way in which offsetting is used to greenwash images, Carbon Market Watch opposes the use of carbon credits to compensate for emissions. Instead, companies should make every effort to reduce their emissions in line with what the science says is required to keep global temperature rises within the relatively safe 1.5℃ limit. When they purchase carbon credits, they should only claim that they contributed to climate action and must not use them to claim they are counterbalancing their emissions.

What is CMW doing about it?

When it comes to climate claims and corporate climate responsibility, Carbon Market Watch focuses on:

  • The climate plans of major corporations and other organisations
  • The climate claims of products, services and events
  • Recommending changes to corporate climate policy 
  • Recommending changes to regulation and legislation to encourage real climate action and combat greenwashing

“We urgently need companies to stop greenwashing or making vague claims that they are carbon or climate neutral and to step up and take real and sustained climate action.”

Lindsay Otis

Policy expert on global carbon markets

“We urgently need companies to stop greenwashing or making vague claims that they are carbon or climate neutral and to step up and take real and sustained climate action.”

Lindsay Otis

Policy expert on global carbon markets

What changes is CMW demanding?

Corporations prioritise deep, rapid and sustained emissions reductions

Companies stop offsetting emissions and making unsubstantiated claims, such as “carbon neutral”

Buyers find more sustainable uses for carbon credits, such as the ‘contribution model’ in which they simply state that they contributed to climate action via funding a certain type of project(s)

Governments must combat greenwashing through effective regulation and legislation, such as banning spurious and exaggerated climate claims

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Highlighted

Image by Freepik
Companies selling in the European Union will no longer be able to claim that their products are carbon or climate neutral, the EU has provisionally agreed. This victory against greenwashing corresponds to longstanding demands from climate campaigners to eliminate the use of offsets and send a signal to the voluntary carbon market.

The climate plans of 24 corporations that are part of the Race to Zero initiative will only cut 36% off their combined emissions by their net-zero target years.

Corporations assessed in the 2023 Corporate Climate Responsibility Monitor that have a 2030 target commit to cutting only 15% of their real emissions by 2030.

Contact our experts

Gilles Dufrasne
Lead on Global Carbon Markets

gilles.dufrasne[at]carbonmarketwatch.org

Lindsay Otis Nilles
Expert on Global Carbon Markets

lindsay.otis[at]carbonmarketwatch.org

Benja Faecks
Expert on Global Carbon Markets

benja.faecks[at]carbonmarketwatch.org

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