Scientists from the Technical University of Munich analyzed 56 IT companies and compared official and actual data on the release of carbon dioxide into the atmosphere. The results show that firms, on average, are silent about half of their CO2 production. Details of the study appeared in the journal Nature Communications.

According to the GHG Protocol, the international standard for measuring CO2, there are three categories of carbon dioxide emissions. When working on this study, scientists focused on one of them – emissions that occur when a product moves along a cost chain. These include shipping, product distribution, and employee business travel. As stated in other studies, waste gases in this category account for 80% of the total CO2 produced. But according to 2013 data, US companies reported only 25% of this type of emissions.

The scientists took the data for the study from the reports of the Carbon Disclosure Project. The project is conducting questionnaires in which companies can voluntarily indicate the amount of CO2 emitted. The reports were then brought into line with the waste measurement standards outlined in the Global Greenhouse Gas Protocol. Finally, they were compared with the official figures cited by corporations.

As it became known from the results, such IT giants as Alphabet or IBM, take into account only part of the waste of the third category or do not enter them into statistics. The total difference between the indicated volume and the actual was about 390 megatons of CO2 per year. This is because many companies are not required to publish accurate information on carbon emissions.