GEAR members Mateo Ortiz, Maria Ángeles Cadarso and Luis Antonio López carried out a study on the carbon footprint associated with the activities of multinational companies operating in the European Union. The paper entitled ”The carbon footprint of foreign multinationals within the European Union” is part of the GEAR’s project to evaluate the role of multinational enterprises as key actors in the fight against climate change and the reduction of carbon emissions along global supply chains. A previous paper related to this project was already published in Nature Communications.

In this new paper, the authors reveal that, during 2015, the emissions directly and indirectly generated by multinational’s foreign affiliates operating within the European Union are estimated at 714 Mt of CO2, which accounts for 17% of the total carbon footprint of the European Union. Although most of these carbon emissions are generated by foreign affiliates located in the United Kingdom and Germany, the findings suggest that low-income EU-members receive higher amounts of emissions in relation to the value added created by the foreign affiliates they host.

The paper also provides valuable insights into the potential for multinational corporations to become actors of change in terms of reducing global emissions by taking responsibility for the environmental impacts of their affiliates and suppliers worldwide and by spreading low-carbon practices across countries and industries.

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