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FY 2021

Exposing Net Zero


Exposing the con of “net zero” with allies from around the world

Corporations from Shell to Walmart are touting their plans to reduce their carbon emissions to “net zero”—usually by a far-off date like 2050. This might sound good, but scratch the surface and you’ll see these plans are all greenwashing and no substance.

The vast majority of corporate “net zero” plans are not actually meant to reduce emissions. In some cases they are even being used to hide corporations’ intentions to scale up fossil fuel extraction, burning, and emissions! And they are often used to perpetuate environmental racism and colonialism, such as seizing land in the Global South. So this year, we set out in partnership with allies to make sure that Big Polluters’ “net zero” plans are not seen as effective responses to the climate crisis, nor enshrined into international policy.

“Big Polluters want to advance their agenda, including at the U.N. climate treaty negotiations, by touting vague ‘net zero’ schemes. But our collective work to expose these schemes as dangerous greenwashing has forced Big Polluters into the position of having to defend their lack of action. Global Forest Coalition’s collaboration with Corporate Accountability and other allies is helping to wrest power away from Big Polluters in international climate policymaking. And that’s precisely what we need to address the climate crisis.” 


We teamed up with Friends of the Earth International and Global Forest Coalition to release an exposé on “net zero.” “The Big Con: How Big Polluters are advancing a ‘net zero’ climate agenda to delay, deceive, and deny” is shifting the public’s understanding of “net zero,” putting Big Polluters on the defensive, and moving policymakers.

Prior to the release of the report, we partnered with the Global Campaign to Demand Climate Justice, Friends of the Earth-International, Indigenous Environmental Network, Asian Peoples’ Movement on Debt and Development, and others to lay the groundwork. We co-released two technical briefing papers on this subject.

These papers helped rally others in the broader climate movement around the need to expose the schemes behind the “net zero” plans of Big Polluters. Over the course of the year, many organizations asked us and our co-authors to help further their understanding of this issue. We also participated in’s Global Just Recovery Gathering for climate action, bringing much needed attention to and discussion about “net zero” into a space that reaches thousands of climate activists.

By the time we were ready to release “The Big Con,” 75 other climate justice organizations around the world were excited to endorse it. Together, we represent a powerful global, cross-cutting movement taking action to reject the latest iteration of Big Polluter’s playbook of deception and demand real solutions. 

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Building local and national power through the People’s Water Project

Corporate Accountability, Action Center on Race and the Economy (ACRE), Food & Water Watch, the NOLA Water Collective, along with other allies from across the country built the People’s Water Project from the ground up—no small feat during a pandemic.


Bringing corporate campaigning tools to advance justice for Black people

The Corporate Accountability Black Collective is leading the organization to partner with Black-led organizations to challenge corporate power.

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