3 October 2021, 5:56 pm. Are we witnessing here a historical moment? The CEO’s of six of the most polluting Dutch companies jointly decide to change their course drastically. Because they have to. Otherwise there is no future, nor for their shareholders either.
“Shell is quitting oil, since this morning we have stopped pumping”, Shell CEO Ben (van Beurden) says. “Let’s now say together no more excuses, we’re changing course. Because The Netherlands is one of the most polluting countries worldwide”. Tata Steel decides to switch completely to producing carbon neutral steel; pension fund ABP, Rabobank and ING end investments in fossil fuels; FrieslandCampina shifts away from large scale exports and switches to plant-based, small-scale, truly sustainable. With a little less profit.
Unfortunately, this meeting is fictional. Large polluting companies don’t change by themselves. Milieudefensie calls on all people to sign the petition for climate due diligence at milieudefensie.nl and make history. So far the YouTube video of Milieudefensie.
Milieudefensie (Dutch for ‘environmental defense’) is a Dutch environmental organization founded on 6 January 1971. This Dutch chapter of Friends of the Earth performs research and brings out its own reports but has also developed into an action group. In 2018, Milieudefensie started a climate case lawsuit against Shell demanding that Shell aligns its business plans to the goals of the Paris climate agreement. On May 26, 2021, Milieudefensie won its Climate Case, a historic victory. But because Shell decided to appeal the court’s decision the battle is not over yet.
Another campaign of Milieudefensie is focusing on 29 major companies, including the companies figuring in the YouTube video above, that are falling seriously short when it comes to their climate plans. To meet the target of limiting global warming to 1.5 °C, climate plans must outline how companies will realize a minimum of 45% CO2 reduction by 2030. Research commissioned by Milieudefensie shows that on average, the companies assessed will achieve no more than 19% CO2 reduction by 2030.
These are the 29 key climate polluters: ABN AMRO, ABP, Aegon, AholdDelhaize, AkzoNobel, Atradius, BAM Groep, Boskalis Westminster, BP, Dow, DSM, Exxon Mobil, FrieslandCampina, ING Groep, KLM, LyondellBasell, NN Group, PfZW, Rabobank, RWE, Schiphol, Stellantis, Tata Steel, Unilever, Uniper, Vion, Vitol, Vopak, Yara.