Lesson: 90% of ecosystem recovery companies don't report results

Lesson: 90% of ecosystem recovery companies don’t report results

Hundreds of large multinational corporations are ‘talking the talk’ about environmental stewardship, promising to help restore ecosystems that have been plundered in the pursuit of profit.

But a select few – less than 10 percent – come close to ensuring that their company is really ‘walking the walk’ by issuing detailed reports to shareholders and the public.

A new record has been released they found that one-third of the 100 business filings reviewed failed to disclose the extent of their ‘environmental restoration’ projects and nearly 80 percent did not provide hard financial data on their company’s conservation efforts.

Some ostensibly ecofriendly multinationals, including BP, Apple and Johnson & Johnson, were particularly silent on the details of their contribution to the environment, if they had any eco-programs at all.

While a few companies, including Nestlé, Microsoft and General Electric, were more forthcoming with data in their annual reports, the researchers found that those companies were outliers.

A full 90 percent of companies, all selected for the 2021 Forbes Global 500 list, failed to issue a public report on a single environmental outcome, either to demonstrate success or admit failure.

The lack of transparency opens many of these large industries to accusations of ‘greenwashing’ – a gamble in public relations made by popular publishers in an effort to clean up their image above any natural environment.

A new report in Science focuses on sustainability reports published by 100 companies from the 2021 Forbes Global 500 list. Some firms that seem to be eco-friendly, such as BP, Apple and Johnson & Johnson, were silent on the details, when they had programs of eco at all.
But a few companies, including Nestlé, Microsoft and General Electric, were more forthcoming with details in their annual reports, the researchers found.

The statistics come from a new report conducted by scientists collaborating with several universities in the US, the UK and Europe, published on Thursday in Science.

As noted by the report’s lead author, marine biologist Tim Lamont, each of the company’s environmental restoration projects, regardless of quality or integrity, were volunteer efforts that went beyond their legal obligations.

‘We found that the company’s reporting is currently not working well and needs improvement, of course,’ Lamont told DailyMail.com.

‘But we also found that two-thirds of the world’s largest businesses are trying to restore ecosystems, which is encouraging.’

Even the most conscientious and transparent players, as identified by the team’s analysis, however, had room for improvement.

Nestlé and Microsoft, for example, have both received high marks for producing reports that include information on the biological and environmental impacts of their projects and updates on their efforts to monitor the success or failure of their environmental restoration efforts.

But there is no financial explanation, such as the full budget of their green projects or the line-by-line costs of their efforts to restore the once-pristine desert to its natural state.

‘No business is perfectly defined across the board,’ Lamont told DailyMail.com.

Lamont, who focuses on coral reef ecology and restoration at Lancaster University, and his colleagues at Cambridge, Northern Illinois University and elsewhere, focused on key reporting principles while reviewing business reports.

Key questions were: Has the company reported the total number of hectares reclaimed by its tree planting efforts? Has the company specified which land or marine environment the project will focus on?

‘No one business is reported to adhere to all the rules,’ Lamont said, ‘but every rule is reported by at least one business.’

Many big-name companies, however, fail to tick a few boxes.

Even the defenders of eco-transparency, such as Nestlé and Microsoft, have failed to disclose any financial information, such as the full budget of their green projects or the successive costs of efforts to restore the once pristine desert to its natural state. Over damaged coral in Indonesia
Key questions have often gone unanswered in corporate reports: Was the entire hectare regenerated by its tree-planting efforts? Has the company specified which land or marine environment the project will focus on? Over deforestation in Trinidad and Tobago

Costco Wholesale, Ford Motor, IBM and BP all did not report the geographic scope and financial budget of their environmental work, failing to report any positive or negative results of any outcome assessment.

Even tech giant Apple, with a positive public image, public climate goals and accelerating funding for environmental change, has failed to report its returns or make any publicly reported assessments of its success.

Even worse, all 100 companies of the Forbes Global 500 companies of 2021 Lamont and the studies of his peers failed to describe the local social and economic impacts of their programs for the people who live in and around the regions to be restored and made sewage again.

In general, heal Health care firms have shown no interest in financing natural systems.

None of the majors like Johnson & Johnson, Cigna, and CVS Health have a program to restore damaged ecosystems at all.

‘The energy and materials industries could be very involved in the recovery because they have very clear environmental impacts that they are trying to account for,’ Lamont told DailyMail.com, although he admitted he could only speculate.

‘The opposite may be true in the healthcare industry, but we can’t be sure. We have only evaluated the statement directly on this page, not the goals or objectives.’

Despite these criticisms, and the questions they ask about ‘greenwashing’ and dishonest PR, Lamont is encouraged by the fact that large companies voluntarily support efforts to restore forests, coral reefs and other living things in the first place.

‘With some improvements in how they report, big business can have real power in this area, and make a positive impact on the challenge of restoring the world’s damaged natural environment,’ he said.

‘This promise can be valuable, and it gives us an incentive to find this good.’

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