Special Report

20 Corporations Behind the Most Ocean Pollution

Energy Corporations

Source: مشتاق جان / Wikimedia Commons

Saudi Aramco

When burned, fossil fuels emit greenhouse gases, which cause ocean acidification, a harmful process that disrupts marine ecosystems. The state-owned Saudi oil and gas giant is the world’s most profitable company. It is also the biggest emitter of greenhouse gases in the fossil fuel sector, according to CDP. In addition to being the industry leader in GHG emissions from its own operations, Saudi Aramco is the overall leading supplier of fossil fuels in the global energy sector.

Source: greg westfall / Flickr


The state-owned gas giant and Russia’s most valuable publicly traded company is the second largest source of greenhouse gases, which causes ocean acidification, among global fossil fuel companies based on 2015 data. It ranks third among the top energy companies in terms of greenhouse gas emissions from operations, but the burning of the petroleum liquids and natural gas it produces and sells puts it in second place in overall greenhouse gas emissions, after Saudi Aramco.

Source: National Iranian Oil Company (NIOC) / Wikimedia Commons

National Iranian Oil

National Iranian Oil ranks second in greenhouse gas emissions from its operations and third in total emissions linked to its operations and its products behind Saudi Aramco and Gazprom. Recent U.S. sanctions may have impacted the company’s ranking, but Iran’s state-owned oil and gas company remains one of the top producers and suppliers of greenhouse gases.

Source: Supratim Bhattacharjee / Getty Images

Coal India

India’s state-owned coal company is the world’s single largest generator of coal-based pollution, slightly ahead of China’s Shenhua Group based on 2015 data. It is also the fourth largest producer of greenhouse gases among fossil fuel companies. As the dirtiest source of energy, coal burning contributes to ocean acidification.

Source: DF40162 / Wikimedia Commons

Shenhua Group

China’s state-owned largest coal company was slightly behind its Indian counterpart, Coal India, in total greenhouse gas emissions. The company ranks fourth in greenhouse gas production among the world’s top fossil fuel companies and. Overall, China’s coal industry is by far the world’s biggest source of greenhouse gas production and supply — responsible for more than 14% of human-sourced greenhouse gas emissions between 1988 and 2015, according to CDP.

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