Multinational Companies & Climate Change

A study conducted in 2014 claimed that multinational companies in the fossil fuel and cement industry top the list for the most carbon emissions and are also responsible for extensive greenhouse gases.

Multinational companies are companies that have operations in more than one country, being said, these are huge firms that account for a lot of employees and high revenues. Since these huge firms account for a lot of customer base and usually target the masses, they need to entail mass production methods. Mass production is where the problem begins.

To equate demand with the supply and to cater to the needs of mass production, mass exploitation of resources must be done. To acquire more raw materials multinational corporations attempt for deforestation and exploitation of the land. These may be done to acquire useful resources such as timber and precious minerals to aid in the production process.


Deforestation is the deliberate cutting down of trees for different purposes. Every year, more than 11 hectares of forests are removed, almost the size of Cuba.  Multinationals have been responsible for the deforestation carried out for a variety of reasons. Most of the multinational corporations cut down trees for timber and timber products. Moreover, many have been clearing forests to establish factories and retail outlets for companies since they are widely spread into different areas.  Sometimes these forests are burnt down which hinders future growth of trees despite many efforts by forestries.


Digging and drilling to acquire resources is a norm of multinational companies across the globe. Mass production demands a greater number of raw materials. Moreover, the rate at which the raw materials are being exploited and used, this translates that little or no resources will be left for future generations to use.


Multinationals have also been held responsible for dumping waste into rivers and landfills. Mass production methods imply that more waste is produced as an outcome. The toxic waste dumped into waterways makes it poisonous and hazardous for different species residing in them. The species that maintain the ecosystem become endangered and sometimes extinct. Moreover, fish farmers face massive losses in income due to fish dying out. The impacts of dumping toxic waste into waterways are far more stretched out to the impact on human health. Plastic and toxic materials choke fish making them poisonous for consumption by humans. This causes extensive health problems in humans.

In addition to this, a lot of toxic waste is dumped into landfills. This again leaves hazardous effects on the soil and distorts the growth and reproduction of plants. Farmers using that area for harvesting can no longer gain benefit and hence experience losses.

Greenhouse Gases and Emmissions

The more factories established and the more output produced results in a greater level of emissions into the air. Multinationals have been held responsible for the depletion of the ozone layer due to manmade gases such as CFCs (chlorofluorocarbons). These CFCs also contribute to global warming further causing depletion.

Apart from the disastrous effects, these emissions have on the ozone layer, these emissions also cause respiratory issues amongst humans especially those in closer vicinity to the area.  These people are usually workers and cleaners who also have little means to get treated for any disease.

The Role of Governments

Every country across the globe does have laws for the protection of the environment. Some governments sell permits to firms that limit the amount of toxic waste dumped into landfills and waterways. Others have laws relating to deforestation and the employment of green technologies

The efforts made by the government as mentioned above are prevalent in countries with stable economies that also possess the resources to focus on these issues. As for small and developing economies, every year hefty amounts are allocated for science and technology; however, they never seem to be in place for this use. This is because sometimes the economy is indebted and the budget allocated for science and technology may have to be diverted. 

Moreover with countries living below the poverty line, or countries where illiteracy rates are at an all-time low, and countries deeply entrenched in the roots of corruption; laws are made and passed but are failed to be implemented and executed effectively.

Also read: The economic implications of climate change

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