As the negotiations in the ongoing United Nations Climate Change Conference (UNFCCC) in Poland heat up, Corporate Europe Observatory and Corporate Accountability have released a new infographic that exposes what they describe as “green façade” by the conference’s sponsors.
Just days before the conference began in Katowice, the COP Presidency announced that a number of the meeting’s corporate sponsors would be from the coal, gas and fossil fuel financing industries.
Climate justice groups including Corporate Accountability and Friends of the Earth International warned that the fossil fuel industry’s overbearing presence through trade and other groups was undermining the talks and promoting false solutions to the climate crisis.
The infographics noted that the slogan for the climate talks – Black to Green – effectively captures the fact that Big Polluter sponsors have wrapped themselves in green branding while their core business digs up and burns coal, oil and gas, which is incompatible with the Paris Agreement and a liveable planet.
Sriram Madhusoodanan, deputy campaigns director at Corporate Accountability, said: “The fact that the negotiations charged with solving the global climate crisis are being bankrolled by Big Coal is absolutely unacceptable. Big Polluter sponsors like JSW are not only able to use sponsorship to greenwash their images, but also sponsorship will likely buy them access to the talks themselves – a massive conflict of interest. It’s like a gun control policy meeting being paid for by the National Rifle Association. Or public health talks bankrolled by Big Tobacco.
“Such sponsorship raises serious questions about what access and influence sponsorship buys and could risk calling into question the legitimacy of these talks before they even begin. Big Polluters have no place bankrolling or participating in the UN climate talks. Period.
“It is precisely for this reason that a global movement has issued the People’s Demands and specifically called for governments to protect the talks from Big Polluter interference.”
Akinbode Oluwafemi of the Environmental Rights Action/Friends of the Earth Nigeria said: “The fact that the corporate sponsors of the talks are from the same polluting industry responsible for the climate crisis, leaves room for doubt on the directions the talks will go. The People’s Demands are explicit on the need to exclude Big Polluters from the discussions. No other way will lead to pro-people outcomes.”
The infographics list eight companies that are sponsoring the COP24. They are Tauron Polska Energia S.A – Poland’s second biggest electricity generator and supplier from coal and gas, JSW – one of the largest tar producers in Europe, Polska Grupa Energetyczna – the largest energy sector company, and PZU – the lead insurer of the Polish coal sector.
Others are PKO Bank – one of the largest fossil fuels financier, PGNiG – leading gas corporation. Grupa LOTOS S.A – which is into extraction and processing of crude oil, and PKN Orden – the largest oil conglomerate and petrol retailer in Poland.