Corporate Climate Policy Footprint

An InfluenceMap Report

November, 2021

The 50 Most Influential Companies and Industry Associations Blocking Climate Policy Action Globally

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See coverage in Newsweek, ABC, The Guardian, CityWire, Daijiworld, YNA, novethic, Carscoops and Driving.

InfluenceMap’s 2021 Climate Policy Footprint report identifies the world’s most obstructive corporate and industry association holding back Paris Agreement-aligned climate policy. The research highlights the fact that a corporation’s influence over policy and regulations may have a far more profound impact on climate change than the physical emissions associated with its operations, suppliers and products (Scope 1,2 & 3 emissions impact). InfluenceMap terms this as "Scope 4 impact" to illustrate that systemic policy influencing by companies needs to be considered alongside physical emissions when evaluating a company and climate change.

InfluenceMap's platform covers over 350 of the largest industrial companies globally. The top five most negatively influential global companies on Paris-aligned climate policy are in order: ExxonMobil, Chevron, Toyota, Southern Company and Sempra, the North American energy infrastructure company headquartered in California.

US oil companies lead the list of the most negative and influential companies on climate globally with ConocoPhillips (7th), Phillips 66 (12th), Valero Energy (13th) and Occidental Petroleum (22nd) all in the top 25. The results reflect intense resistance by the sector to the Biden Administration’s efforts to transition the US economy away from fossil fuels.

  • Toyota Motor has campaigned against proposed regulations globally to phase out internal combustion engines in favor of electric vehicles in 2020-21 and ranks 3rd on InfluenceMap's list of global companies most negatively influencing Paris-aligned climate policy. It is joined by BMW (18th), Daimler (24th) and Hyundai (25th) from the automotive sector, which as a group is highly negative on stringent climate regulation on the automotive sector.

  • Glencore (8th) is one of the few companies in the top 25 whose climate policy footprint is predominantly associated with direct advocacy in favor of thermal coal. The analysis likely reflects a shift in influence from coal towards gas, with an uptick of companies increasingly focusing on natural gas in their lobbying activities. This includes companies actively lobbying for natural gas in Europe such as BP (9th), OMV (10th) and Gazprom (17th). It also includes fossil fuel-focused utilities such as Southern Company (4th), American Electric Power (11th) and Duke Energy (15th), as well as Sempra (5th).

  • The top five most negatively influential industry associations are the American Petroleum Institute, the American Fuel & Petrochemical Manufacturers, the US Chamber of Commerce, the National Mining Association (US) and BusinessEurope. In total, 13 of the 25 most obstructive industry associations globally directly represent fossil energy sectors. However, the analysis also highlights the role of highly powerful cross-sector business federations that continue to pose a significant blockage for global climate action. The US Chamber of Commerce (3rd), BusinessEurope (5th), the California Chamber of Commerce (8th), the Federation of German Industries (9th), the National Association of Manufacturers (16th), the Japanese Business Federation (17th), and the Federation of Korean Industries (22nd) all feature amongst the top 25 industry groups with the largest, negative policy footprints globally.

  • This is despite growing support for climate policy ambition across the broader economy. The report follows InfluenceMap’s October 2021 A-list report, covering the most influential and positive companies driving meaningful and Paris-aligned climate policy, including major brand companies such as Unilever, Nestlé, IKEA and Tesla, as well as renewables-focused utilities Iberdrola, Enel, Ørsted and Edison International. The analysis also identified a range of additional ‘potential’ A-list companies that represent a growing hope that the wider corporate sector will begin to rally behind governments and help facilitate the policy frameworks urgently required to deliver the Paris Agreement’s goals of limiting warming to well below 2°C and towards 1.5°C. However, as the United Nations Environmental Programme’s 2021 Emissions Gap Report clearly highlights, such policy is not yet in place and, when combined, policy plans globally are only on track to limit global temperature rise to 2.7°C by the end of the century.

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A Paris Agreement-aligned transition to a clean energy future is going to remain extremely challenging until countries take meaningful action to address the obstructive lobbying of vested interests from fossil fuel value chain sectors. The corporate playbook for holding back climate policy has come a long way from science denialism, but it is every bit as damaging. The world is starting to wake up to the impact companies are having through their policy influence. In many cases, this policy influence massively overshadows the direct climate impacts of their operations and products. It is high time that the major corporations engaging in such practices, along with the industry associations that support them, are held accountable for this.

Edward Collins