Nine out of ten largest companies have carbon emission targets

25th October 2017

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Richard Lomax

The vast majority of the world’s biggest companies now have carbon emission targets, while some are taking advice from scientists to prevent dangerous climate change.

That is according to an annual report by the CDP, which reveals 89% of the most environmentally impactful firms have plans to reduce carbon emissions, and a fifth have long-term targets to 2030 and beyond.

In addition, 14% have aligned themselves with the Science Based Targets Initiative, which aims to bring down emissions in line with keeping global temperature rises below 2˚C as set out in the Paris Climate Agreement.

“Two years ago, the Paris Agreement fired the gun in the race to a low-carbon economy,” CDP CEO, Paul Simpson, said. “This year, the recommendations from the Task Force on Climate-Related Financial Disclosures accelerated the pace.

“Best practice, from the scaling of solar power to the construction of zero-energy buildings, with innovation in processes, products and philosophies is emerging; and is increasingly led from the boardroom.”

The research involved a sample of 1,073 companies representing approximately 12% of global greenhouse gas emissions, finding that an additional 30% aim to have science-based targets within two years.

The existing targets by these firms would reduce emissions by almost one third of the way needed for them to be consistent with keeping temperature rises below 2˚C, up from 25% last year.

Other notable findings include:

• 36% of companies are offering low-carbon products such as electric vehicles and zero-energy buildings • 75% believe their products and services enable third parties to reduce emissions – up from 64% last year • 32% now use internal carbon pricing, and a further 18% plan to within two years • 23% more companies have renewable energy consumption targets than last year, while 36% more have green energy production goals • 98% have board- or senior management-level responsibility for climate change, and 90% have financial incentives to attain climate targets.

In a separate analysis, CDP ranked the best companies for their approaches to climate change, water and deforestation, with Unilever and L'Oréal scoring the highest.

Unilever CFO, Graeme Pitkethly, said: “Being a sustainable business goes hand-in-hand with being a successful business, as we drive profitable growth for our brands, save costs, reduce risk, and fuel innovation.”


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