Walmart, Murdoch Climate Action Initiatives Dismissed as Greenwashing

Guest essay by Eric Worrall

Anyone who thinks trying to cosy up to the climate movement will win any public relations points should take a look at how Walmart and Newscorp are being treated.

Walmart has a plan to tackle the climate crisis. Can it pull it off?

Walmart is attempting to erase its huge climate footprint while continuing to sell tens of millions of low-priced products

Every day a seemingly never-ending stream of toothbrushes, toilet paper, tape, thumbtacks, toys and other products criss-cross the globe from a network of suppliers to Walmart’s more than 10,500 stores.

Walmart has declared its mission to tackle these climate impacts, which means focusing on every part of the chain – from the electricity sourced in its stores to the palm oil in the candy bars sold on its shelves. But while some experts celebrate the scale of the retailer’s efforts, others wonder whether they go far enough.

“It’s extraordinary,” said Michael Vandenbergh, co-director of the Climate Change Research Network at Vanderbilt Law School. “What we’re talking about is one of the largest and most conservative companies in the world making a range of commitments that government is not requiring them to make.”

But some criticize Walmart’s zero emissions goal for not including the company’s supply chain, which accounts for the vast majority of Walmart’s overall climate impact. “Without that, drastic emissions reduction will never happen,” said Souparna Lahiri, co-author of a report on net zero by Corporate Accountability

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Murdoch Media / Newscorp’s apparent attempt to cosy up to the greens is going even worse.

News Corp hasn’t seen the light on climate – they’re just updating their tactics

Ketan Joshi 
6 September 2021

Have you heard the good news? One of the key institutions holding back climate action in Australia – Rupert Murdoch’s News Corporation – is suddenly on Team Climate Action! Today, the Sydney Morning Herald revealed that the company’s Australian outlets are set to launch a campaign urging “the world’s leading economies” to embrace a target of net zero emissions by 2050; to be fronted by columnist Joe Hildebrand. The details aren’t out yet, but I contend that we can comfortably predict what it will look like.

What might reasonably seem like a surprising change of heart in News Corp’s stance on climate is actually a long-term tactical shift that has been occurring for at least a few years. Whatever policies they failed to destroy through their earlier campaigns, they will try and reframe through racist, nationalistic, technocratic and pro-business frames.

Whatever policies they can delay or destroy, they’ll simply keep running scare campaigns about, insisting that ‘the balance isn’t right’, and that the threat of climate action is greater than the threat of climate change, as they always have (in Australia, News Corp’s partnerships with Google and Facebook mean these campaigns to destabilise climate action are growing more powerful and more harmful every day). When the next federal election comes around, the “COSTS OF NET ZERO” scare campaigns will ramp up in Australia as they are in the UK, and News Corp will be at the forefront, pleading that acting too fast will cause catastrophe. Absolutely mark my damn words: this is what will happen.

Net zero by 2050 isn’t enough. We’ll know that the denialism has truly ended when organisations like News Corp treat the IPCC’s latest report like it’s real. That is, when they acknowledge that every additional unit of greenhouse gases causes harm to life on Earth, and that actions to stop their release must be as fast as possible. That climate change is an emergency that requires rapid action to wind down the fossil fuel industry in a just and equitable way, and that its replacement must be grown to full size with just as much passion and urgency.

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Even Amazon’s Bezos, who has promised to spend billions of dollars by 2030 on the climate movement, saw much of his reputation as a green champion unravel thanks to a single PR misstep.

Amazon ‘illegally retaliated’ against climate activists

Published 5 April

US labour officials have found that Amazon retaliated illegally when it fired two employees who had spoke out about the firm’s environmental practices and warehouse safety.

The National Labor Relations Board was investigating a complaint brought by Emily Cunningham and Maren Costa, who had helped organise the group Amazon Employees for Climate Justice.

They were fired last April.

Amazon said it disagreed with the finding.

“We support every employee’s right to criticise their employer’s working conditions, but that does not come with blanket immunity against our internal policies, all of which are lawful,” an Amazon spokesman said on Monday. 

“We terminated these employees not for talking publicly about working conditions, safety, or sustainability, but rather, for repeatedly violating internal policies.”

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If you think about it, there is no reasonable means by which any corporation can appease the green movement, because the green movement is not a single entity. The only way ambitious newcomers and upstarts can make an impression is to challenge the idealogical purity of incumbents. No matter what moves incumbents and their corporate friends make, they will always be vulnerable to an idealogical challenge from non-affiliated green upstarts.

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via Watts Up With That?

September 13, 2021 at 08:09PM

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