New report reveals top 15 retail giants that contribute most to climate crisis through fossil-fuel-powered shipping

"These findings reveal new environmental and public health impacts of retail companies' manufacturing and transport choices—and they are damning."

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Image Credit: Asia Times

A new report revealed the top 15 retail giants impacting the environment and public health. According to the report, the retail companies’ manufacturing and transport choices are “damning.”

Research conducted by nonprofits Pacific Environment and Stand.earth uncovered Walmart to be the top retail maritime shipping polluter followed by Ashley, Target, Dole, Home Depot, Chiquita, Ikea, Amazon, Samsung, Nike, LG, Redbull, Family Dollar, Williams-Sonoma and Lowes.

The high shipping emissions, which have been built into the retail business model for decades, have quadrupled since the 1980s, according to the report. The fossil-fueled maritime shipping accounted for 10-15 percent of the world’s manmade sulfure oxide (SOx) and nitrous oxide (NOx) emissions—the same amount of greenhouse gas emissions as 1.5 million homes in 2019, EcoWatch reported.

SOx has been linked to respiratory issues such as asthma, increased risk of cancer and increased ocean acidity while NOx forms smog, threatening port cities such as Los Angeles and Long Beach of air pollution.

“In the face of record profits, major retailers and their shipping companies have no excuse to not invest in cleaner ways of doing business,” Gary Cook, global climate campaigns director at Stand.earth, said. “Every year they stall, communities of color will remain saddled with the high costs of air pollution, and we miss the ever-narrowing window to address the climate crisis and ensure a livable planet.”

The research came from the database Journal of Commerce, which lists the U.S.’s top importers and “they were able to link retailers to vessels, and calculate the emissions per trip” with the maritime databases that the University Maritime Advisory Services (UMAS) uses.

“There really hadn’t been an investigation into this pillar of companies’ emissions portfolio,” Madeline Rose, primary author and climate campaign director for Pacific Environment, said. “Quite frankly, with the climate emergency on our doorstep, we just feel like there needs to be disruption of the data system and there needs to be greater transparency.”

Based on the report’s findings, the authors urge the companies to commit to 100 percent zero emission transport by 2030.

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