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How Has COP26 Affected The Corporate Sector Six Months Later?

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As we reach the six-month mark on the back of COP26, it’s clear that the corporate world is starting to hold itself accountable for its sustainable shortcomings. From prioritising bottom-up action to improving company transparency amongst a more active audience, a number of e-commerce giants are working towards a greener future.

The question is, just how quickly can they reach COP26’s sustainable milestones? After the 2021 conference promised to reduce global emissions in order to reach a worldwide net-zero in 2050, it’s time to check in on the corporate industry leaders that are promising to go green in response.

Will The Corporate Sector Keep Its Promise?

Six months after one of the most influential COP meetings to date, corporate giants such as IKEA, Amazon and Nestlé have vowed to revolutionise their sustainable practices in order to adhere to new manufacturing guidelines.

However, a recent study by The New Climate Insitute that assessed the sustainable measures of 25 of the world’s leading corporate giants, revealed that many of the household brands pioneering the way forward are only predicted to cut down their emissions by 40%, rather than going net-zero in the next decade.

In fact, the report found little substance to the bold sustainability claims made by all 25 of the corporate leaders reviewed. Only Maersk, Vodafone and Deutsche Telekom were able to commit to the decarbonisation of just over 90% of their value chain emissions, while five of the companies reviewed were only prepared to reduce their unsustainable practices by 15%.

“It is not clear these reductions take us beyond business as usual,” States Thomas Day, compiler of the report. “We were very disappointed and surprised at how much room for improvement there was among the companies studied. Companies need to be much more transparent about these goals.”

Is Business Greenwashing Bigger Than Ever Before?

On the back of COP26, consumer demand for sustainability is on the rise. In fact, a third of UK consumers are now prepared to pay more for sustainable products across the board, which has put pressure on the e-commerce industry to deliver a new, eco-friendly experience to a predominantly Gen Z/Milennial demographic.

The problem here is the risk of receiving empty promises. In a notably competitive e-commerce environment, marketing teams are greenwashing more than ever before in order to stay in the game. Rendering itself as one of the many challenges of small business management in a post-pandemic landscape, responding to consumer trends has become the key focus for a successful marketing strategy, even if transparency is comprised.

New research by the Changing Markets Foundation has found that 60% of all green claims made by UK fashion brands are still misleading in 2022. Industry leaders such as H&M, ASOS and M&S top the list, as more e-commerce giants than ever before, are called out for a lack of transparency within their manufacturing process.

H&M remain at the top of the list in 2022, with a whopping 96% of their sustainability claims revealed to be misleading as they labelled unrecyclable and emission inducing products environmentally ‘responsible’ for a new green-based audience.

Looking to the future, it’s clear that transparency will still be an issue for a large section of the corporate industry. As the success of e-commerce booms and companies battle it out for visibility within their niche markets, it’s clear that despite COP26’s promises for a sustainable future, business leaders will continue to mislead their audiences for a chance to get on top.

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