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Flying Towards Climate Failure: An Analysis of the Seven Biggest European Airline Groups

June 2, 2022

Globally, aviation is a major contributor to rising greenhouse gas emissions (GHG). In recent years, annual emissions from aviation have increased by 4-5%, up to the start of the COVID crisis in 2020. Although the pandemic has led to a temporary decline in aviation emissions, air travel is projected to return to its skyrocketing pre-pandemic levels as early as 2024. Without political action to counter its growth prospects, the aviation industry will become one of the biggest emitting sectors globally and by 2050 it will have consumed up to a quarter of the global carbon budget for achieving the 1.5°C Paris Agreement goal.Under pressure for their skyrocketing emissions, some actors in the aviation sector have recently pledged to achieve net-zero emissions by 2050. But no company in the sector has pledged to effectively cut greenhouse gas emissions in order to achieve real-zero decarbonisation. Instead, the industry and political leaders are relying on excessive optimism about false or technological solutions, such as carbon offsetting, electric planes and alternative fuels that are either ineffective, harmful for the environment or a long way from being viable in the coming decades or easily available at the required volumes. Researchers have highlighted that these "technology myths" are stalling the necessary progress in climate policy for aviation. While other transport sectors, such as rail and road, can – to a certain extent – directly use electricity based on renewable sources such as solar and wind power, similar solutions do not yet exist for aviation. The goal of real-zero emissions will not be achieved without a significant reduction in flights.

Words vs Actions: The truth behind the advertising of the car and airline industries

May 19, 2022

New analysis by environmental research group DeSmog, commissioned by Greenpeace Netherlands, "Words vs. Actions, the truth behind the advertising of the car and airline industries", shows how European airline and car companies use advertising to evade their climate responsibilities by either exaggerating their corporate response to the climate crisis or completely ignoring the damage their products cause. Greenpeace Netherlands selected a representative sample of ten European airlines and car makers, and DeSmog then analysed a year's worth of their advertising content from the Facebook Ad Library, comprising ads posted on both Facebook and Instagram for European audiences. The analysis of 864 car advertisements and 263 airline advertisements suggests that the companies are greenwashing, in other words presenting a deceptively environmentally friendly image.In Europe, more than 30 organisations are supporting a campaign to legally end fossil advertising and sponsorship in the EU, much like the long-established directive banning tobacco sponsorships and advertisements. If the campaign collects one million verified signatures in a year, the European Commission is obliged to respond to the proposal. 

The European Commission’s Trade Sustainability Impact Assessments: A Critical Review

May 5, 2022

This study looks at and evaluates the European Union's Sustainability Impact Assessments (SIAs) carried out in the framework of trade negotiations involving the EU. SIAs are a tool used by the Directorate-General for Trade (DG Trade) of the European Commission (EC) with the objective to assess the potential economic, social and environmental impacts of a future trade agreement, inform the negotiations and shape the final agreement accordingly.The first SIA was conducted for multilateral trade negotiations when at the turn of the millennium the World Trade Organization (WTO) wanted to expand its trade regime. Over the two following decades, the EU perpetuated the use of SIAs for its bilateral trade agreements and institutionalised it so as to become, in the words of the Commission, a "key instrument for the formulation of sound, transparent and evidence-based trade policies". At the time of writing, 31 SIAs have been completed and four are being conducted.This study is based on a review of the most recent SIAs, academic literature and interviews with civil society actors involved in SIAs. It aims to establish the state of play of the EU's use of SIAs more than 20 years after they were first implemented. It gives insight into both the way SIAs are made and the role they play in the making of trade agreements. 

Feeding Fears: What Europe's Policy-makers Need to Do to Truly Achieve Food Security

March 23, 2022

The Kremlin's brutal invasion of Ukraine is inflicting misery on so many, as they are killed, injured or forced to flee their homes. The invasion will have even further-reaching impacts too, as we see that global and European food and farming systems are out of balance and far from resilient to external shocks. It is clearer than ever that we must fundamentally reconsider the way in which we produce, consume and trade agricultural products. The urgent need to rethink our food and farming systems is of course not new, as it was already evident when the Covid-19 pandemic hit, and the impacts of the combined climate and biodiversity crises – partly driven by the current food system – became apparent.The recent disruption of Russian and Ukrainian exports of cereals, oilseeds, fertilisers and fossil gas (used in the manufacturing of synthetic fertilisers that underpin modern industrial farming) makes it clear that Europe's farming sector is dangerously dependent on external inputs and imports. In order to maintain its over-production and exports of animal products, Europe relies on cereal and oilseed imports from Russia and Ukraine, on Russian fossil gas and phosphate, and potash from Belarus. Europe, now more than ever, must transform its food and farming system and shift to ecological, local, seasonal and plant-based diets, making the system sustainable and resilient. 

The vulnerability of nuclear plants during military conflict: Ukraine technical briefing

March 2, 2022

Nuclear power plants present unique hazards in terms of the potential consequences resulting from a severe accident. Nuclear reactors and their associated high level spent fuel stores are vulnerable to natural disasters, as Fukushima Daiichi showed, but they are also vulnerable in times of conflict.This brief seeks to explain some of the hazards and potential consequences that exist today in Ukraine.

In Deep Water: The Emerging Threat Of Deep Sea Mining

July 3, 2019

The oceans are facing more threats now than at any time in history. Yet a nascent industry is ramping up to exert yet more pressure on marine life: deep sea mining. A handful of governments and companies have been granted licences to explore for deep sea mining in ecologically sensitive waters, and the industry is positioning its development as inevitable, but deep sea mining isn't happening anywhere in the global oceans – yet. Opening up a new industrial frontier in the largest ecosystem on Earth and undermining an important carbon sink carries significant environmental risks, especially in light of the biodiversity and climate crises facing the natural world and specifically our ocean. Rather, we need a strong Global Ocean Treaty that puts conservation, and not exploitation, at the heart of how governments approach the ocean.

Sea of Distress: The Foodservice Industry, Ocean Health and Seafood Workers

August 23, 2016

This report is Greenpeace's first assessment of foodservice companies, a $700 billion industry feeding millions of people every day who dine outside the home.Unfamiliar to many, companies like Sysco, US Foods, Performance Food Group, Compass Group, Aramark, and Sodexo work to feed people in K-12 to university university cafeterias, corporate dining halls, restaurants, sports arenas, amusement parks, hospitals,  and home. These companies provide food and services for many clients from Disney World to Walmart, Google, Yosemite National Park, Red Lobster, and even the U.S. Congress.This report identifies which major foodservice companies are leaders in sustainable, ethical seafood and which are failing. The findings indicate foodservice companies are failing millions of consumers on sustainable, ethical seafood.Sodexo, Compass Group, and Aramark, topped the list for their sustainable seafood practices; however, each company received a low passing score and must work hard to improve its operations. Each of the remaining 12 profiled companies failed, including Sysco, U.S. Foods, Performance Food Group, Delaware North, and Centerplate.Several companies procure destructive and potentially unethical canned tuna from Thai Union Group (owner of Chicken of the Sea), including Sysco, Compass Group, Gordon Food Service, and Shamrock Foods. Many companies have questionable records regarding their treatment of U.S. workers and respect for labor rights, and must do more to guarantee any seafood they provide is not implicated in labor or humans rights abuses.Applauding industry leaders and exposing those lagging behind is key to getting foodservice companies to take responsibility and play their part in protecting our oceans and the people who depend on them.

The Mobilisation Cookbook: A Greenpeace Guide to Cooking Up People Powered Campaigns

December 20, 2015

People-powered movements are transforming the world—and our work. Today, nearly everyone has tools for change in the palm of their hand, which is reshaping how organisations like Greenpeace think and operate. Amidst rapid change we've often found ourselves talking about mobilisation and people power without a shared sense, a language, for what we mean.Why do words like "engagement" ring through our offices as often as smartphones? What is "people power," anyway? Most importantly, why should any of this matter to you and the people you work with?The Mobilisation Cookbook is a guide to answer (almost) everything you wanted to know about "people-powered" campaigns at Greenpeace but were afraid to ask. Developed for Greenpeace staff, volunteers, and allies, this guide will help anyone cook up effective people-powered campaigns.

Carting Away the Oceans 9

July 14, 2015

The Carting Away the Oceans report, released annually since 2008, identifies which major grocery chains are leaders in sustainable seafood and which are falling behind.The findings are telling.In the latest update, Whole Foods, Wegmans, Hy-Vee, and Safeway topped the list for their sustainable seafood practices. Roundy's, Publix, A&P, and Save Mart were the worst ranked companies. Publix and Kroger, both top ten supermarkets based on their annual sales, sell more Red List species than any other U.S. grocery chain.Applauding industry leaders and exposing those lagging behind is key to getting supermarkets to take responsibility and play their part in protecting our oceans and the people who depend on them

Financing Ecological Farming in Africa : A Guide For International Donors

May 1, 2015

This report provides a resource to the donor community to facilitate the provision of support to ecological farming across Africa. Donor is defined broadly including: governments providing bilateral overseas development assistance, multilateral financial institutions, philanthropies, and international (UN) development organisations.It focuses on four primary channels as effective conduits for scaling up investment into ecological farming: academic and public research and training institutions; communityseed banks and exchange networks; public procurement schemes and producer organisations and cooperatives. It analysed eleven ecological farming initiatives from around the world involving support from donor organisations.

Pitfalls and Potentials: The role of bioenergy in the EU climate and energy policy post-2020

April 28, 2015

European Governments are increasingly relying on bioenergy as a cheap way to meet targets for renewable energy. Bioenergy represented 62 percent of the EU's renewable energy use in 2012. But new evidence on the real climate impacts and other environmental and social impacts of bioenergy has made its use increasingly controversial.Sustainable bioenergy has a role to play in Europe's transition to an energy system based on renewable energy and energy efficiency. However, to avoid serious negative consequences for carbon emissions, biodiversity and land conflicts, the EU should introduce four main safeguards for bioenergy use as part of the its 2030 climate and energy policies:Introduce a cap to limit the use of biomass for energy production to levels that can be sustainably supplied;Ensure efficient and optimal use of biomass resources, in line with the principle of cascading use;Include correct carbon accounting for biomass;Introduce comprehensive binding sustainability criteria.

Carting Away the Oceans 8

May 12, 2014

Greenpeace released the 8th edition of its annual report, Carting Away the Oceans, which evaluates 26 major retailers on their seafood sourcing and sustainability. Whole foods and Safeway topped the ranking guide. Four supermarkets -- Roundy's, Bi-Lo, Save Mart and Publix -- failed altogether. Kroger, the fifth biggest food retailer in the world, is exposed for selling the most Red List species of any U.S. grocery chain, for the third consecutive year."Consumers want to be able to walk into their local grocery store and know that all the options are sustainable," said James Mitchell, Greenpeace Senior Oceans Campaigner. "That's why Greenpeace is pushing companies like Bi-Lo, Save Mart and Roundy's to drastically improve their sourcing, so that making the right decision is easy for their customers."Hy-Vee was evaluated for the first time and immediately entered the top five best performing retailers for sustainable seafood sourcing.Four of the top five supermarkets have, or will shortly launch private label (store brand) sustainable canned tuna products. Consumers will now be able to find sustainable and affordable alternatives to destructively-caught tuna at Whole Foods, Safeway, Trader Joe's, Hy-Vee, and Walmart. The report gives further credit to Whole Foods and Trader Joe's for not stocking Bumblebee, Chicken of the Sea or StarKist's tuna, which are caught using destructive fishing methods."When Greenpeace started ranking America's retailers on seafood sustainability in 2008, every company failed. We've seen huge improvements since then, yet grocery giants like Kroger are still stocking too many threatened Red List species, which are often caught using highly destructive fishing methods." said Mitchell.Despite progress made by the retail sector overall, overfishing, destructive fishing, and illegal fishing are still major problems for ocean conservation and the economies of developing countries.  Populations of the ocean's top predators like sharks, tuna, and swordfish have dropped by as much as 90% over the past half-century.  Bycatch - where species like sharks and turtles are caught unintentionally in the process of fishing, then thrown back into the sea dead or dying - threatens marine ecosystems as well as global food security.