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Vattenfall, Bucking Trend, Announces Carbon Neutral Goal

vattenfall.jpgVattenfall presented its vision to reach carbon neutrality by 2050 at its Climate Signature initiative in Brussels. At the same time, there’s a trend of companies stepping back from announcing such goals.

“We have earlier declared our intention to substantially reduce our emissions by 2030. Now we are stretching our ambition further, to be carbon neutral by 2050”, Vattenfall’s President and CEO, Lars G Josefsson.

Josefsson says the vision means the company will be ahead of its competitors and the requirements set by society.

The carbon neutral trend started around 2003, according to Earth News. But after Fiji Water’s goal to have a negative carbon footprint was criticized for pushing the bounds of credibility, many companies scaled back such announcements.

Erin Meezan, director of sustainable development for Interface told Earth News that many companies realized “carbon-neutral is not so easy as they thought it was.”  Now, Meezan says they are not seeing as many companies moving toward carbon-neutral claims.”

But, as Vattenfall illustrates, that doesn’t mean companies aren’t intrigued in the idea of such announcements. In June, Marks & Spencer set a goal to be carbon neutral by 2012.

Incidentally, Vattenfall’s news comes as Hamburg recently allowed the company to move ahead with plans to build a coal-fired plant in the Moorburg suburb.

Environmentalists and the Greens opposed to the $2.8 billion project. Anja Hajduk of the Green party told the Guardian that it was a difficult decision because it’s not the kind of policies for climate protection that she stands for, but that “due to legal reasons the construction of the plant cannot be stopped.”

In March, Vattenfall sued Hamburg’s environmental department over the issue in an attempt to force the application to be processed immediately.

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