COP27 sponsors: which firms are partners of Egypt climate conference - what are their environment track record

A environmental campaigner told NationalWorld that the summit taking sponsorship money from private companies is “absurd” and “no corporation should be sponsoring COP”

Climate activists have slammed the sponsors of COP27 for not “reflecting the ambitions” of the world’s transition to a zero-carbon society and should be working to curb climate change.

It comes as sponsors of the climate conference have come under fire, particularly the announcement of Coca-Cola’s partnership with the summit. Doug Parr, chief scientist at Greenpeace UK, said the sponsorship is “baffling” as the firm “worsens both the plastic and climate crises.”

COP27 sponsors should be “built around a foundation of being low-carbon”, meaning “no airlines, no plastic producers, no oil and gas producers, and no car companies,” Robbie Gillett, Badvertising campaigner at climate charity Possible, said.

He added that the summit is “meant to be the next stage of the world’s transition to a zero-carbon society and as such, their sponsors should reflect those ambitions” therefore “rail or renewable energy companies would make great alternatives.”

However, George Harding-Rolls, campaign manager at environmental group Changing Markets Foundation told NationalWorld that he thinks “no corporation should be sponsoring COP” because “that the most important conference on the future of our planet should be taking sponsorship money from a private company is, frankly, absurd.”

Here we take a look at all of COP27’s ‘Main partners’, ‘Partners’ and ‘Supporters’, and assess how environmentally friendly the firms are and what they have put in place to become greener.

Environmental track record of COP27’s ‘Main partners’

Vodafone

Despite being a large mobile network company which will have negative effects on the environment, it has implemented many plans to become greener. The firm switched its European networks to 100% renewable energy in 2021, and the group aims to reach net zero across 21 countries by 2040.

The company has also committed to reducing plastic in the environment by introducing recyclable “Eco-SIMs” and pledged that all plastic waste it creates will be reused or recycled by 2025.  It is also committed to reducing the carbon emissions produced by its suppliers, with a target of halving its emissions by 2030.

Microsoft

Together with Egypt’s Ministry of Foreign Affairs, the company announced its role as Strategic Technology Partner and Principal Sponsor of COP27. Through the partnership, the company will aim to help people and organisations better understand the transformative potential for technology to help solve complex climate challenges.

It has committed to be carbon negative by 2030 and remove from the environment all the carbon it has emitted since its founding by 2050. The company has also pledged to be water positive by 2030, zero waste by 2030, and to protect ecosystems by developing a Planetary Computer.

However, the firm’s Environmental Sustainability Report for 2021 showed that after three years of slight declines in carbon emissions, Microsoft saw a 21% jump from 11.2 million metric tons of carbon dioxide equivalent released in 2020 to nearly 13.8 million metric tons in 2021.

Boston Consulting Group

The management consulting company which works with clients to accelerate its climate and sustainability journey, helps clients embed sustainability, and are working directly alongside COP27 President Designate Minister Sameh Shoukry of Egypt and his team to generate momentum on climate action.

The firm has extensive experience in helping companies, governments, and multilateral organisations transform to achieve adaptation and resilience at a national and global scale.

Infinity Power

The leading renewable energy provider of solar, wind, waste-to-energy and EV charging solutions in Egypt  has been reported to have transformed the renewable energy industry in the country by providing solutions for a cleaner, more sustainable future.

On its website the firm says it “maximises the role of clean energy by harnessing its capacity to power our societies and communities in ways that better support and sustain the environment.” The company provides comprehensive renewable energy solutions to power cities, industries, and homes directly from nature to improve energy security and support environmental sustainability.

Egyptair

The state-owned airline carrier of Egypt operated its first environment-friendly service flight from Cairo to Paris in January. It was the first flight of its kind on the African continent.

The carrier also used sustainable aviation fuel for flights to Sharm El-Sheik International Airport in Egypt, with COP27 attendees on board. It arrived on Saturday (5 November) coming from Charles de Gaulle Airport in Paris.

Bloomberg Philanthropies

The organisation encompasses all of the charitable giving of founder Michael R. Bloomberg who has long been a global leader in the fight against climate change. Bloomberg Philanthropies’ Climate and Environment program is at the forefront of U.S. and global efforts to fight climate change and protect the environment across a key array of issues - from driving the transition to clean energy and supporting climate action in cities, to preserving ocean ecosystems.

African Export-Import Bank

Referred to as Afreximbank, the firm is a pan-African multilateral trade finance institution partnered with COP27. It has signed an agreement with the African Petroleum Producers Organization (APPO) according to which both parties will collaborate on the establishment of an African Energy Transition Bank. The new institution will accelerate Africa’s economic development, whilst ensuring this progress is compatible with, and complementary to, the Sustainable Development Goals (SDG) as well as the continent’s long-term social and environmental objectives.

Orascom Construction PLC

The construction company in Egypt seeks to minimise its environmental impact and promote sustainable development by conserving energy, materials and resources through minimising consumption, maximising efficiency and effectively managing waste. It has partnered with COP27 and leverages wind resources in the Gulf of Suez area. The groundbreaking ceremony for a new 500MW Build-Own-Operate (BOO) Wind Farm near Ras Ghareb, Egypt partly comprised Orascom Construction PLC.

Environmental track record of COP27’s ‘Partners’

Siemens AG

The largest industrial manufacturing company in Europe recognises that it has a “wide-ranging impact on the environment” due to its “many products, systems, solutions, and services”, but it has laid out what it is implementing to lessen its impact.

The firm says that its efforts range from climate neutrality and eco efficiency programs to innovative and holistic zero pollution and circular economy initiatives. In September 2015, Siemens became the first global industrial company to commit towards carbon neutrality by 2030.

IBM

The International Business Machines Corporation is an American multinational technology corporation and says it is “committed to environmental leadership in all of its business activities, from its operations to the design of its products and use of its technology.” The firm has a target of net zero greenhouse gas emissions by 2030.

The company has also pledged to divert 90% by weight of nonhazardous waste from landfill and incineration by 2025, and take on 100 client engagements or research projects with environmental benefits by 2025.

Environmental track record of COP27’s ‘Supporters’

Coca-Cola

Coca-Cola is one of the sponsors of COP27 and has set the ambitious target of helping to collect and recycle a bottle or can for every one they sell by 2030. The firm also has a target to reduce absolute carbon emissions 25% by 2030, and an ambition for net zero carbon emissions by 2050.

However Coca-Cola was named as the world’s number one plastic polluter in 2021 after an audit was conducted by Break Free From Plastic, a global movement envisioning a future free from plastic. The company also admitted in 2019 that it uses three million tonnes of plastic packages in a year.

Coca-Cola did join the Ellen MacArthur Foundation in 2018, which draws together a group of multinationals to cut plastic waste. The firm committed by 2025 to a 20% reduction in the use of virgin plastic, to eliminate problematic plastic packaging, to move from single use towards re-use models, and to only use 100% reusable, recyclable or compostable plastic packaging.

But, data from the Foundation named Coca-Cola as one of the worst offenders for increasing virgin, non-recycled plastic in 2021. It was found to have increased its use of newly manufactured plastic by 3.5% since 2019.

Cisco

The American-based multinational digital communications technology corporation has set a target to reach net zero greenhouse gas emissions by 2040. On its website the firm says it is “committed to deep greenhouse gas reductions across our operations, supply chain, and product use.”

Sodic

A leading real estate developer in Egypt says, on its website, that the firm masters their plans “with sustainability in mind” and applies green concepts to its solar powered homes and developments to environmentally friendly transport systems.

The company says it is proud to have its head office 95% powered by clean energy generated by our solar powered parking sheds.

Siemens Energy AG

The energy company formed by the spin-off of the former Gas and Power division of Siemens Group is supplying its control system to an offshore wind farm for the first time. The system, which has already been established in conventional power plants, will be the “brain” of the 900-megawatt EnBW He Dreiht wind farm being built approximately 90 kilometres northwest of the German North Sea coast off the island of Borkum.

On its website the firm says it has “a leading position along the entire spectrum of wind” and it provides “wind energy technologies and services for a sustainable future.”

Google

The huge global firm has been carbon neutral since 2007 and became the first major company to match all of its yearly electricity use with renewable energy in 2017.

The firm has put in place policies to better the environment, for example, Google Cloud reduces the environmental impact of cloud computing through innovative renewable energy purchasing and commitment.

However, this year Euronews.com reported that Google is helping big oil firms to greenwash their reputations by selling them adverts attached to environmental search terms. According to a report by the Center for Countering Digital Hate (CCDH), a non-profit organisation dedicated to fighting online misinformation, Google accepted $24 million in search ad buys from the oil industry over the last two years.

A total of 40% of this money was spent on adverts targeted at users who searched environmental terms like ‘eco-friendly’ and ‘net zero.’

Mashreqbank PSC

The oldest privately owned bank in the United Arab Emirates was involved in the global initiative ‘Earth Hour 2016’ and has recorded a high-level of engagement and success. It has also implemented environment friendly policies within the company such as partnering with Shred it, a mobile on-site paper destruction and recycling service.

There are consoles set up in offices where paper and other waste materials like CDs, Floppy disks, pins etc are collected and then shredded confidentially. Shred-it then sends the firm a certificate of the number of trees saved.

Adsero

The intellectual property law firm based in Egypt is working towards environment commitments under their latest guide “Doing Green Business in Egypt”. It provides an overview of the investment environment highlighting the general legislative framework, primary green industries including renewable energy and hydrogen, and the main developments in e-mobility and waste management.

Hassan Allam Holding

Egypt’s leading engineering, construction and infrastructure company, has delivered multiple key projects across the fields of energy, power, water, infrastructure, and the development of smart and sustainable cities - which will support Egypt’s growth while promoting sustainability across these plans.

Hassan Allam Utilities, the investment and development arm of Hassan Allam Holding, has spearheaded a number of landmark projects which form part of Egypt’s national sustainability strategy. These include developing a 50 MW PV IPP  Power Plant in Benban, Egypt, and co-developing a project to establish 4 GW green hydrogen plants.

The company has also signed a project agreement for 1.1 GW wind project in Egypt that will be the largest onshore wind farms in the world and the largest in the Middle East.