COP27: 90% of sponsors have fossil fuel ties
18 out of 20 of the sponsors of United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC) climate talks currently underway in Egypt directly support or partner with the fossil fuel industry, according to an analysis by CEO and Corporate Accountability. This analysis comes in the closing days of talks (the 27th Conference of the Parties or COP27) that have already been marred by revelations of corporate interference and influence, such as the COP Presidency retaining a notable PR firm for Big Oil and the presence of more than 636 fossil fuel lobbyists.
While the world's top plastics polluter, Coca Cola, has garnered all the headlines, the new research shows it is far from being the only big polluter facilitating the fossil fuel industry.
“PR by a firm that shills for the fossil fuel industry? More fossil fuel lobbyists than the combined delegations of 15 African countries combined? A who’s who of polluters, fossil fuel financiers, and industry enablers bankrolling the COP? To a malaria conference, you don’t invite the mosquitos,” Philip Jakpor, Director of Programs, Corporate Accountability and Public Participation Africa.
Other fossil fuel-linked sponsors include:
- Banks that directly finance the industry, such as Afreximbank, which has created a multi-billion dollar energy bank that will finance existing and new oil and gas projects, or Mashreq, the oldest private bank in the UAE that helps multinationals refinance their oil & gas developments and facilities;
- Companies involved in building and operation gas-fired power plants, such as Orascom Construction, which recently built in Egypt one of the world’s largest gas-fired power plants, which is operated and maintained by Siemens;
- Three silicon valley giants all have strong ties to industry: Google continues to accept fossil fuel advertising despite claiming it had stopped; Microsoft provides technology to optimize oil and gas extraction; IBM conducts research into industry escape-hatches like Carbon Capture, Utilization and Storage (CCUS);
- Airlines that ignore their fossil fuel consumption, such as Egyptair’s ‘climate friendly’ flight which ignores its fossil fuel emissions and focuses on reducing its use of single-use plastics
- Communications companies that provide services to the industry, such as Vodafone, whose Chairman also served as Deputy Chair on Shell’s board of directors for 9 years, or Cisco, which is a leading provider of cyber-security to the industry.
“As if it weren’t bad enough that lobbyists for corporations like Shell, BP, and Chevron were walking the halls of COP27. Now the revelation that the entire conference is being bankrolled by corporations with close industry ties? After 30 years of allowing polluters to upend progress, governments need to finally put an end to the madness and kick big polluters out.” Pascoe Sabido, Researcher and Campaigner, Corporate European Observatory
CEO and Corporate Accountability are two of more than 450 organizations that are calling for an end to such sponsorships and other means of corporate persuasion over vital climate talks. In August, a broad spectrum of civil society formally requested world governments adopt an accountability framework to address such brazen attempts by polluting industries to obstruct progress and use the UNFCCC for greenwashing.
“Corporations shouldn’t sponsor climate talks, let alone support the deadly agenda of those with ties to the very industry responsible for the climate crisis. Making the primary global forum for averting climate catastrophe a greenwashing platform for polluters undermines the UNFCCC and all its aspirations. This isn’t a trade show, it’s our near final chance to save millions of lives and ensure a livable planet for all,” Rachel Rose Jackson, director of climate research and policy at Corporate Accountability.
COP27 Sponsors: “Our Main Partners”
- Has a history of revolving doors: Chairman Gerard Kleisterlee served as Deputy Chair on Shell’s Board of Directors for 9 years.
- Supports oil & gas infrastructure, and built a new 5G mobile private network for Centrica Storage Limited (CSL), the gas storage and processing unit of UK gas and electricity supplier Centrica.
- Mansour Group
- Self-described as “no stranger to oil and gas”, they have a decades-long history of selling drilling equipment, with further plans to “take a more proactive role in this lucrative field.”
- Mansour’s London-based private investment subsidiary invests in a company that provides services to the offshore oil and gas industry.
- In May 2022, they struck a deal for the creation of a multi-billion dollar energy bank that will finance existing and new oil and gas projects.
- Orascom Construction
- Built one of the world’s largest gas-fired power plants in Egypt in 2018
- The oil & gas industry's biggest tech-partner, helping them to optimize their fossil fuel extractivism
- Its own workers went on strike over its collaboration with the oil and gas industry.
- Its “net-zero by 2050” pledge relies on offsets and tech-fixes, not ending its fossil fuel ties
- Boston Consulting Group (BCG)
- Proud partner to the oil and gas industry, working with some of its biggest polluters like Shell
- Is helping the Egyptian government organize COP27, as it did with the UK for COP26
- Is already working with COP28 host UAE, as part of its ‘Global Climate and Sustainability Hub’ in the region
- Also provides consultancy services to Saudi Arabia
- Launched its first ‘climate friendly’ flight in January, which consisted of reducing the amount of single-use plastics served on the flight rather than addressing the emissions from its jet fuel.
- To distinguish the flights climate credentials EgyptAir created a special ‘green’ logo
- Rather than reducing air travel and therefore the consumption of fossil fuels, EgyptAir reduced ticket prices by 40% to encourage more people to fly
- Bloomberg Philanthropies
- They’re financing a global scheme for voluntary carbon markets, the fossil fuel industry’s go-to false solution. According to REDD monitor it is “The global financial elite’s plan to profit from the climate crisis while maintaining business as usual for Big Oil”
- The ‘Task Force on Scaling Up Voluntary Carbon Markets’ (TSVCM) includes BP on its Board of Directors
- General Motors
- Thanks to the combustion engines in its cars, General Motors has been a major driver of fossil fuel consumption across the world.
- It knew about the impact its engines were having on the climate as early as the 1960s but then actively lobbied to block action and funded climate science denial campaigns
- More recently, despite making public noises in support of 1.5oc and electric vehicles, it has lobbied the Biden administration to weaken proposed standards on light and heavy duty road vehicles
COP27 Sponsors: “Partners”
- Involved in developing novel Carbon Capture, Usage and Storage (CCUS) techniques, a technology promoted by the fossil fuel industry to allow the continued extraction and burning of fossil fuels.
- working with pesticide and fertiliser companies to promote carbon farming, an offsetting technique that aims to create carbon credits from storing carbon in soils. According to GRAIN, these carbon credits will create a “smokescreen for the emissions of big oil” who are one of the main purchasers of offset credits
- The German company already operates and maintains one of the world’s largest gas-fired power plants in Egypt, which was built in 2018 by fellow sponsor Orascom Construction.
- Siemens plans to build more gas-fired power plants around the world, including “the largest of its kind” in Turkey
COP27 Sponsors: “Supporters”
- Cisco has historically been a partner to the oil & gas industry in providing communications services, and is now considered one of the leading companies to provide cybersecurity services to the industry.
- Dedicated services specifically to fossil fuel industry: “Cisco for Oil & Gas”
- Oldest private bank in the UAE helps multinationals refinance their oil & gas development/facilities
- It continues to push for fossil fuels through the energy transition
- Provided USD 90 million in credit for Dana Gas in 2020, the Middle East’s largest regional private sector natural gas company.
- Adsero – Ragy Soliman & Partners
- Has an Energy, Environment and Natural Resources (EENR) practice group, with multiple senior staff advising clients on oil and gas.
- Hassan Allam Holding
- One of the largest privately owned corporations in Egypt has a goal of making North Africa “a regional hub for natural gas.” It has announced investments in oil and gas to the tune of USD 830 million and USD 17.1 billion respectively through to 2024.
- It partners with oil and gas companies and technology providers across the region. “We provide services to every phase of project delivery in upstream, midstream, and downstream sectors.”
- The US tech firm allows oil & gas giants to greenwash their image by letting them buy the top search result when people looked up sustainability-related terms on its search engine.
- Google Cloud has partnered with Saudi Arabian Oil Co. to distribute its cloud services in the Kingdom.
- Siemens Energy
- The German multinational is well-established in the world of gas-fired power plants, supplying everything “from core turbine only, gas turbine packages up to complete gas-fired power plants”.
- Currently building (with a plan to also operate) a 840MW gas-fired power plant in the UK for last year’s COP26 sponsor, SSE
- Coca Cola
- The world’s top plastic polluter five years in a row, producing 120 billion throwaway plastic bottles a year. 99% of which are made from fossil fuels, giving a new lease of life for the industry.
- In Colombia it was accused of using right-wing paramilitary death squads to kill at least 10 trade union leaders who were trying to organise in its plants.
- Accused of dehydrating communities by over-using water to feed its own plants. https://waronwant.org/news-analysis/coca-cola-drinking-world-dry