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COP27: Latest UN Report Slams Greenwashing, Sets Guidelines for Non-State Actors

The report was launched at the currently ongoing COP27 Summit in Sharm-el-Sheikh, Egypt.

Climate Change
2 min read
COP27: Latest UN Report Slams Greenwashing, Sets Guidelines for Non-State Actors
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Governments and non-state actors across the world are now pledging net-zero goals since the 2015 Paris Agreement was ratified. All parties who have adopted the treaty have set goals to help mitigate climate change and maintain the global temperature threshold at 1.5°C above pre-industrial levels.

However, these net-zero goals can have loopholes that would essentially allow greenwashing. A new report released by the UN's High‑Level Expert Group on the Net Zero Emissions Commitments of Non-State Entities denounces greenwashing and provides five principles that act as a guide for setting net-zero emissions goals.

The report was launched at the currently ongoing COP27 Summit in Sharm-el-Sheikh, Egypt.


The 5 Principles:

  1. Ambition which delivers significant near— and medium—term emissions reductions on a path to global net zero by 2050

  2. Demonstrated integrity by aligning commitments with actions and investments

  3. Radical transparency in sharing relevant, non-competitive, comparable data on plans and progress

  4. Established credibility through plans based in science and third-party accountability

  5. Demonstrable commitment to both equity and justice in all actions


The 10 Recommendations

The report also includes further detailed guidelines for ensuring that non-state actors should consider for their net-zero goals.

These guidelines are in place so that weak net zero goals that create loopholes to allow greenwashing can be avoided. These loopholes would severely undermine more serious efforts being made by global leaders and governments to mitigate climate change

“We must have zero tolerance for net-zero greenwashing. Today’s Expert Group report is a how-to guide to ensure credible, accountable net-zero pledges.”
Antonio Guterres, Secretary General, UN.

Some of the Key Highlights From These Recommendations:

“Right now, the planet cannot afford delays, excuses, or more greenwashing.”
Catherine Mckenna, chairman of the High-Level Expert Group
  • A net zero pledge must be a commitment by the entire entity, and be reflective of the region or corporation’s fair share of the needed global climate mitigation

  • A net zero pledge must contain stepping-stone targets for every five years

  • The pledge must set out concrete ways to reach net zero in line with the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) or International Energy Agency (IEA) net zero emissions modelled pathways

  • Non-state actors must prioritise urgent and deep reduction of emissions across their value chain

  • City, region, finance and business net zero plans must not support new supply of fossil fuels

  • Non-state actors must lobby for positive climate action and not against it

  • Financial institutions should have a policy of not investing or financing businesses linked to deforestation

  • Non-state actors must report publicly every year on their progress

  • Countries should launch a new Task Force on net zero Regulation to convene regulators across borders

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