Majority of Europe's largest firms have no emission reduction goals

20th February 2019


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Author

Michael Walsh

More than half of Europe's largest companies do not have targets to reduce their overall CO2 emissions, despite eight in ten acknowledging the business risks of climate change.

That is according to a new CDP study of 859 firms, which also shows that only a third of the companies with emission reduction goals have targets stretching past 2025.

However, it was found that almost half reward their senior management for tackling climate risks, with a quarter tying these financial incentives to specific targets.

In addition, almost three-quarters plan to use climate scenarios to inform their business strategies by 2020, with around nine in ten seeing opportunities arising from climate change.

“While some leaders are showing the way forward, many others are moving too slowly along the pathway to sustainability,“ said Tom Delay CBE, chief executive at Carbon Trust, which co-produced the research.

“Even in a part of the world where there is an almost unique combination of committed businesses, comparatively strong environmental policy frameworks, and citizen support for action, progress is still not happening quickly enough.“

The companies involved in the study represent three-quarters of European market capitalisation, with CDP finding that almost half anticipate growing demand for low-carbon goods.

L'Or√©al, Unilever, Bayer, Firmenich, Telefonica, EDF, ING Group and Carrefour, are among 76 European companies recognised as “pioneers for environmental action“ by the researchers.

Investment funds from BNP Paribas AM, Candriam and Banque Postale AM are among 10 that are praised for their climate performance, 70% of which are French.

“Others must follow rapidly in the footsteps of those leaders if we are to tackle one of the most urgent global challenges we face today,“ Delay continued.

“Europe is home to some of the world's most ambitious corporates, showing transformative leadership on sustainability issues and finding new ways to prove that profitability doesn't have to come at the expense of the planet.“

Image credit: Shutterstock

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