Google, IBM, Other Tech Giants Underreport Carbon Footprint, Says Study


Big technology companies such as SAP, IBM and Google are underestimating their greenhouse gas emissions during an investigation into the role of corporations in fueling climate change, a study released Friday claimed.

Research published in the journal Nature Communications found discrepancies in the way companies declare their carbon footprints, a measure that is increasingly seen as important to investors.

The study, by researchers from the Technical University of Munich, examined so-called Scope 3 emissions, which account for a large portion of corporate carbon footprints, such as business travel, employee commuting and how companies’ products are used. goes.

Focusing on 56 companies in the tech industry, they found that on average they failed to disclose about half of their emissions.

One of the report’s authors, Christian Stoll, said some companies — such as the parent of Google Alphabet – Found how they report their carbon footprint, but excluded some emissions that should have been counted.

others, such as ibm, reported its carbon footprint differently based on audience and did not include emissions that should have been included.

No Google Nor did IBM immediately respond to requests for comment.

The authors suggested ways companies could improve their emissions reporting.

Laura Drucker, senior manager of corporate greenhouse gas emissions at nonprofit commercial research firm Ceres, said she agrees with the Nature paper’s conclusion that companies’ emissions disclosure needs to be improved.

“However, we can’t wait for the right data,” said Draker, who was not involved in the study. “Companies can use projections and screening tools to identify hot spots for climate risk along their value chain, and they can set targets and take action to meet those goals – as well as , working to improve data collection and quality.”

He said Ceres’ own research showed that many large US companies lack ambitious climate goals.