Nov 18, (Reuters) – Climate change lawsuits have more than doubled in the past seven years globally, according to a June report by the London School of Economics. and are moving beyond traditional polluting industries such as fossil fuel production.
At the COP27 climate talks in Egypt, UN experts warned last week that many claims about the corporate environment are “empty slogans and hype.” This is likely to encourage activists to launch more legal cases against those who fail to do so.
The lawsuit against Big Oil and climate activists is currently ongoing and the world won in 2021 when a Dutch court ordered Royal Dutch Shell to completely cut emissions. In the United States, cities and states are still in early stages of getting Exxon, BP and others to test, hoping the companies can help pay for it. climate adaptation measures such as sea walls and energy reforms. Oil companies say they cannot be held accountable for a global phenomenon like climate change and that policy change must come from governments not courtrooms.
Below, check out some of the latest climate justice targets.
Companies that manufacture and market plastics, which are derived from fossil fuels, are responding to a growing number of cases around the world that focus on waste from all packaging materials.
In July, a US judge in California gave the first approval for a $10 million settlement after US coffee company Keurig was sued by consumers who accused it of mis-marketing its K- Cups to be recycled although not in many places. Keurig has denied wrongdoing and responsibility.
Another lawsuit, filed in California state court in 2020 by the US environmental group Earth Island Institute against Coca-Cola, Pepsi, Nestlé and other global food companies, aims to holding those companies accountable for their contribution to plastic pollution. The lawsuit could raise public nuisance, breach of warranty and civil claims.
The companies have denied the allegations in lawsuits but have publicly promised to take action to prevent plastic pollution. In January, Coca-Cola, Pepsi and other global brands asked for an international agreement to fight plastic pollution, including cutting plastic production.
Globally, climate activists have targeted plastic manufacturers by challenging government building permits for plastic factories. A lawsuit announced this year by the London-based environmental law firm ClientEarth and other non-profits is trying to strike down a $3.1 billion plastic plant put up by Ineos, the British petrochemical company in Belgium, by claiming that the Flemish government’s approvals did not take into account the environmental impact. plastic manufacturing. The facility converts fossil gas into ethylene, a key building block for “single-use” plastics, according to the US Environmental Protection Agency.
Ineos did not respond to a request for comment but said the facility would be the largest petrochemical production in the region in decades and would create thousands of jobs.
Climate activists have also targeted the food industry, where companies are forced to say how the weather affects their products.
Sweden-based Oatly, which advertises its brand of oat milk as having less water content than traditional milk, was hit with three lawsuits in 2021 by investors in filed in US federal court in New York. “washing green,” where a company claims that they are more environmentally friendly than they are. A spokesman for Oatly declined to comment on the pending litigation.
In Denmark, the European Union’s largest pork producer, Danish Crown, was hit with a lawsuit last year that says the company misrepresented its climate footprint through marketing claims. “the climate is better than you think.” request for comment but he has pledged to reduce greenhouse gas emissions by 50% by 2030.
Citizens’ groups in France have alleged that French supermarket chain Casino has systematically violated human rights and environmental laws by selling shellfish linked to overfishing and deforestation in the Amazon rainforest. . The lawsuit alleges that the company is violating a 2017 “duty of vigilance” law in France that requires companies to avoid human rights and environmental violations in supply chains. The company said it has a strict policy to set criteria for suppliers to adhere to including “no Amazon deforestation” and no slave-like labor practices.
BANKS AND INSTITUTIONS
The world’s financial giants face consumer claims that they are failing to reduce environmental damage and misrepresenting some of their investments as environmentally friendly.
A group of environmental non-profits announced in October that they had begun legal proceedings in France against BNP Paribas, which the non-profits described as “the largest fund for fossil fuel expansion in Europe.” The group says that fossil fuel production violates France’s strict vigilance law that requires corporations to identify and reduce environmental harm. The group, led by Oxfam France and Friends of the World France, called the move an “unprecedented illegal act.” BNP Paribas did not respond to a request for comment.
A German consumer group sued Deutsche Bank’s asset management group DWS in October, saying it had misrepresented the bank’s green symbols in trading materials. The lawsuit alleges that DWS told investors that it invested 0% in controversial sectors such as coal, but elsewhere indicated that revenue from the coal industry accounted for 15% of revenue. of the bank. DWS has repeatedly objected to misleading investors.
Clark Mindock’s comments; Edited by David Gregorio
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