Ex-US vice president Al Gore has come out with some strong words against companies making vague long term promises of net-zero objectives.

At Bartalks we’ve commented a number of times about some of the chocolate companies environmental claims, both in terms of setting goals and also the progress towards them.

Reading through some chocolate companies sustainability reports can be a frustrating exercise, as the authors seem intent upon making it impossible to cross-reference historic and current data.

We must be vigilant of the rising threat of greenwashing or risk derailing hard-won progress. – Al Gore.

A common technique is to simply change what is measured from one report to another, making it impossible to identify any progress. one of the more frustrating techniques I’ve seen is to make multiple nested references so that looking up one number requires going to multiple sources, that in the end don’t contain the information that was promised.

Mr Gore’s comments coincided with the publication of an annual report From an organisation called Generation Investment Management, a sustainable investment management firm For which Mr Gore is the chairman.

That report concludes that there is a growing unease about the greenwashing taking place and the potential negative contribution that this will have towards net-zero, which Is a critical Milestone on the road to managing the devastating impact of climate change.

The report highlights in particular how some companies are abusing the carbon offset scheme, to buy their way out of dirty production. But as a largely poor or unregulated industry, the quality and value of carbon credits vary widely.

Some chocolate companies are starting to pay attention as they see the writing on the wall and don’t want to be caught short when the inevitable crackdown happens. Others, unfortunately, are still relying on the tools that have served them well in the past; to obfuscate, prevaricate, and mislead, preferring to spend money on lobbying, which they calculate is more cost-effective than addressing the underlying issue.

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