KR Foundation Newsletter
19 December 2022

Welcome to a new edition of KR Foundation’s newsletter

Our December board meeting has just concluded, and the year is coming to an end. In this edition we introduce you to a few of the organizations and projects recently supported by KR Foundation.

For more frequent updates and to stay tuned about events at Læderstræde 20, please follow us on LinkedIn.
We wish you all happy holidays and a wonderful 2023.


Using “exit lists” to move the financial sector in Europe and the US away from fossil fuels

Behind every new coal plant, gas terminal, and oil pipeline, there are banks, investors, and insurers, without which the fossil fuel projects would not be realized. Many of these financial institutions are based in Europe and in the US: Eight of the world’s 20 largest banks are European and four are from the US. And most of the world’s 30 largest asset managers are from Europe and the US.
A coalition of 6 NGOs has come together to move the financial sector in Europe and the US away from fossil fuels. Urgewald (Germany), Les Amis de la Terre (France), Reclaim Finance (France), BankTrack (Netherlands), Re:Common (Italy), and Rainforest Action Network (US) have set out to do this using two impactful tools: The Global Coal Exit List (GCEL) and the Global Oil & Gas Exit List (GOGEL).
The fossil companies listed in the GCEL represent 95 pct. of the world’s thermal coal production and 95 pct. of the world’s coal-fired capacity. Investors such as AXA, Ostrum Asset Managers (4th largest asset manager in France), and Zurich Insurance Group are using one or more of the GCEL’s three divestment criteria to exclude coal companies from their portfolios. To date, investors representing over USD 16tr in assets are using the list to guide their investments.
GOGEL covers 95 pct. of the world’s oil and gas production. It enables financial institutions to easily identify the largest oil and gas expansionists as well as the companies responsible for the biggest share of unconventional oil and gas production. Although GOGEL is still a very new database, it has already been used by over 20 financial institutions, e.g., La Banque Postale and Ostrum Asset Managers, to develop stricter oil and gas policies.


Stopping greenwashing by engaging with the advertising industry

Climate misinformation and misleading greenwashing campaigns present a major obstacle for ambitious climate action, and PR and advertising agencies are known as enablers of the fossil fuels industry’s efforts to mislead the public. According to a new report, over 60 percent of oil and gas ads (from BP, Shell, Chevron, ExxonMobil, and TotalEnergies) contain at least one misleading green claim, while just 12 percent of the industry’s capital expenditures are devoted to low carbon technologies. Activist campaigns, climate litigation, and congressional hearings have helped shed light on this over the last year, but the largest PR and ad agencies and their leadership have not yet taken meaningful action.
The organization Generous Films, which is led by former Edelman employee Christine Arena, is working to address this problem from two different angles. One approach is to push for top-down change across the PR and advertising industry, e.g., working with the Institute for Advertising Ethics to host the industry's first public discussions on the risks of greenwashing, to integrate members of the climate accountability community into the conversation, and to create social science-based guidelines and standards for greenwashing. Another part of Generous Films' work entails directly engaging the top PR and advertising industry leaders to make them take a more active role in preventing and counteracting greenwashing campaigns.

The overall goal of this work is to enable and encourage the advertising industry to align their standards and practices on greenwashing with the latest scientific and legal guidelines, rather than the looser, subjective standards most agencies currently use. This work is done in close collaboration with other KR Foundation grantees such as The Climate Social Science Network and The Climate Litigation Lab.


Using the law to hold companies accountable for greenwashing

A growing number of companies misleadingly portray themselves as clean energy leaders, advertise dubious claims about carbon neutrality, and falsely promote fossil fuels as sustainable. Public audiences are presented with climate solutions that in reality are often practically nonexistent or non-viable. Net-zero and other pledges are widely advertised even though many of them lack meaningful action or verifiable plans. These practices often conflict with consumer protection and competition laws.

The Climate Litigation Lab at the Oxford Sustainable Law Programme aims to prevent and limit greenwashing by holding these companies legally accountable for their claims. To achieve this, The Climate Litigation Lab, has co-developed, an evidentiary tool for discovering, archiving, and analyzing online climate-related advertisements and communications for use in legal actions. Part of this project is to expand and further develop this tool.

The Climate Litigation Lab also provides comprehensive and impactful legal analyses of counter-greenwash legal options in key jurisdictions worldwide. This work is disseminated to climate activists and lawyers across the globe through publications, consultations, and trainings to help enable a new and enhanced wave of counter-greenwash legal actions worldwide.


Yes, in my backyard

While support for ambitious climate action generally has been on the rise in Denmark over the past ten years, there is still pushback on concrete climate initiatives across the country. The so-called “not in my backyard” (NIMBY) phenomenon has been known to slow down renewable infrastructure projects and other climate friendly initiatives.
To counter this attitude, Danish environmental organization Green Transition Denmark has launched a project called “Yes, in my backyard”. The aim is to tell positive stories about green frontrunners, passionate citizens, and entrepreneurs, who have been able to convince local communities to say yes to windfarms, solar power, and other transformative green projects in their backyard. Through constructive journalism and storytelling, this project aims to reach target audiences that are different from the traditional climate activists and increase support for ambitious and accelerated climate action.


Challenging the status quo of mainstream economics

The current global economic system is incompatible with planetary limits. Growth dependent economies are fueling the climate crisis by demanding ever-increasing levels of natural resource consumption and energy use. There is a need to imagine and implement an economic system that is fit for the challenges of the 21st Century – a system, which enables nature, communities, and all people to thrive simultaneously.
Rethinking Economics Denmark wishes to challenge mainstream economics' power of thought and practice when it comes to shaping the debate on the intersection of economics and climate crisis. Through network and capacity building initiatives as well as production of informative and accessible SoMe content, Rethinking Economics Denmark intends to support more civil society actors  in taking part in the public debate on the economy, economics, and the climate crisis, ensuring that the widespread yet false perception of neoclassical economics as a value-free scientific discipline does not continue to legitimise policy measures that prioritise GDP growth at the expense of climate action.

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