Campaigners behind Shell’s climate verdict target 30 multinationals

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  • KLM, ABN Amro among the recipients of the letters
  • Milieudefensie seeks net zero plans aligned with science
  • Warns the court of an option if companies are slow to move

AMSTERDAM / LONDON, Jan. 13 (Reuters) – The Dutch wing of environmental group Friends of the Earth, which won a landmark lawsuit against Royal Dutch Shell (RDSa.L) last year, has asked 30 companies to publish plans to significantly reduce greenhouse gas emissions in a campaign launched Thursday.

Milieudefensie has set its sights on large companies with legal bases in the Netherlands, where a court ruled in May that Shell must reduce its environmental footprint. Read more

Business leaders were receiving letters asking them to provide plans outlining how they would reduce heat-trapping gas emissions by 45% from 2019 levels by 2030. Failure to do so could lead to legal action. judicial proceedings, said Peer de Rijk. , project manager at Milieudefensie.

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Fourteen of the 29 groups that received a letter responded to a Reuters request for comment and all said they were taking action to reduce emissions. Shell has not received a letter but is also part of the campaign, Milieudefensie said, referring to its legal victory over the oil giant.

“We are very clear that at the end of the day, if necessary, we are ready to take legal action. But of course we hope that these companies will move on their own,” De Rijk told Reuters in an interview.

“We are ready to start talks, but we are also in a hurry, so we will not agree to talks for the sake of the talks themselves,” he said. “The science of the climate is very clear. This is exactly what is needed.”

Shell is appealing The Hague District Court’s order to reduce emissions under the 2015 Paris Agreement.

Among the leaders in finance, distribution, oil and energy majors, manufacturers and industrialists on the list are KLM, the Dutch branch of the airline company Air France KLM (AIRF.PA), the bank ABN Amro (ABNd.AS) and supermarket operator Ahold Delhaize (AD.AS).

“You run a company that controls and influences a substantial amount of CO2 emissions. A business that can and should contribute to the system change needed to prevent dangerous climate change, “a draft letter viewed by Reuters said, asking,” Are you a favorite or a laggard? “

The ABN AMRO logo can be seen at the headquarters in Amsterdam, The Netherlands on May 14, 2019. REUTERS / Piroschka van de Wouw / File Photo

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Some of the companies are “small in the Netherlands itself, but they have a very big international and global impact and Shell’s verdict makes it very clear that it is possible to hold them accountable for their global emissions through Dutch law,” he said.

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Milieudefensie’s move follows countries’ pledge to accelerate their emission reductions during COP26 climate talks in Glasgow in November, with investors managing $ 130 trillion in assets subscribing to net zero and making pressure on companies to make sure their plans are good enough.

The expansion of Milieudefensie’s campaign also comes against a backdrop of increasing climate-related litigation globally, with more than 1,000 cases brought since 2015, according to research from the London School of Economics.

Milieudefensie has set a three-month deadline until April 15 for companies to present a climate plan. They will be used to set an emissions benchmark against which progress in reducing greenhouse gases can be measured, the group said.

The other companies that received a letter were: pension fund ABP, insurer Aegon, paint manufacturer AkzoNobel, insurer Atradius, builder BAM Groep, dredger Boskalis Westminster, oil company BP, Dow Chemical, nutrient manufacturer DSM, oil company ExxonMobil, dairy group FrieslandCampina, bank ING Groep, airline KLM, chemical manufacturer LyondellBasell, insurer NN Group, pension fund PfZW, Rabobank, energy company RWE, airport of Schiphol, Shell oil major, automaker Stellantis, Tata Steel, Unilever product group, Uniper energy, Vion food group, commodity trader Vitol, Vopak storage, and Yara chemical.

KLM said it is committed to aligning its zero net trajectory with climate science and plans to use more sustainable aviation fuel.

An ABN spokesperson said the bank supports efforts to limit global warming and is working to reduce emissions from its loans.

Ahold Delhaize said Wednesday evening that he had yet to receive the official letter and could not comment.

Others responded to Reuters, highlighting their climate efforts, including FrieslandCampina, Rabobank, ING, Aegon, DSM, Yara, Tata Steel, Schiphol, RWE, Akzo Nobel, NN, Unilever, ABP and PFZW.

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Reporting by Anthony Deutsch in Amsterdam and Simon Jessop in London; Additional reporting by Bart Meijer in Amsterdam, editing by William Maclean

Our Standards: Thomson Reuters Trust Principles.

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