But crucial details were missing from the pledge, including what proportion of the companies BlackRock invests in will be zero-emission businesses in 2050. On Saturday, in response to questions from The New York Times, a BlackRock spokesman said that the company’s “ambition” was to have “net zero emissions across our entire assets under management by 2050,” The New York Times’s Peter Eavis and Clifford Krauss report.
Household names like Costco and Netflix have not provided emissions reduction targets. Others, like the agricultural giant Cargill and the clothing company Levi Strauss, have struggled to cut emissions. Technology companies like Google and Microsoft, which run power-hungry data centers, have slashed emissions, but are finding that the technology often doesn’t exist to carry out their “moonshot” objectives.
Determining how hard companies are really trying can be very difficult when there are no regulatory standards that require uniform disclosures of important information like emissions.
Institutional Shareholder Services, a firm that advises investors on how to vote on corporate matters, analyzed what corporations are doing to reduce emissions. Just over a third of the 500 companies in the S&P 500 stock index have set ambitious targets, it found, while 215 had no target at all. The rest had weak targets.
“To realize the necessary emission reductions, more ambitious targets urgently need to be set,” said Viola Lutz, deputy head of ISS ESG Climate Solutions, an arm of Institutional Shareholder Services. “Otherwise, we project emissions for S&P 500 companies will end up being triple of what they should be in 2050.”
The U.S. Postal Service on Tuesday chose Oshkosh Defense, a manufacturer of military vehicles, to build the next generation of postal delivery trucks, shunning an all-electric vehicle maker that had been in the running for the multibillion-dollar, 10-year contract.
Under an initial $482 million deal, Oshkosh will complete the design and then assemble 50,000 to 165,000 vehicles over 10 years, the Postal Service said.
Oshkosh was awarded the contract over two other bidders. One, the Workhorse Group, a small producer of electric delivery trucks based in Loveland, Ohio, was counting on the postal contract to provide a surge in revenue. At its height this month, the company’s stock was up more than tenfold in a year, in part on hopes it would win all or part of the postal contract. On Tuesday, after the Postal Service announced its decision, Workhorse shares lost nearly half their value. The other final bidder was Karsan, a Turkish maker of trucks and buses that was considered a long shot for the contract.
The choice of Oshkosh, which has no track record in producing electric vehicles, over Workhorse raised questions among some environmentalists over President Biden’s promised push to electrify the federal fleet. But some critics had also raised concerns that too swift a transition to plug-in trucks made by a fledgling company — and the buildup of charging infrastructure that would require — could burden a Postal Service already struggling with delivery delays.
Oshkosh has promised to shift to battery-powered vehicles if necessary, reflecting a wider push by automakers to bolster their offerings of electric vehicles to cut down on the industry’s carbon footprint. The new vehicles will be equipped with either fuel-efficient gasoline engines or electric batteries, and they will be retrofitted to keep pace with advances in electric vehicle technology, the Postal Service said.
The Post Office operates almost 230,000 vehicles and has one of the world’s largest civilian vehicle fleets, but its aging fleet — which federal data shows gets only about 10 miles a gallon — had also long been due for an upgrade.
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