CDP5: More Companies Address Climate Change Risk

by | Sep 24, 2007

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Ninety-five percent of companies that consider climate change to present a commercial risk have implemented a GHG reduction program with a specific target and timeline, according to The Carbon Disclosure Project’s 5th annual global report which looks at the 500 companies ranked by the Financial Times newspaper as the world’s largest by market capitalization. The report is a collaboration of over 315 institutional investors with assets under management of more than $41 trillion.

In addition, 76 percent of responding companies (77 percent of corporations within the sample responded to the CDP questionnaire this year, compared with 71 percent last year) reported implementing a GHG emissions reduction initiative compared to 48 percent in last year’s CDP4 report. Eighty percent of respondents see climate change as presenting risks and opportunities to their business.

The S&P500 report finds that many leading U.S. companies are also assessing climate change and developing response strategies, but as a group are not as far along as the more international FT500 sample. More of the U.S. survey sample sees climate change as presenting commercial risks than opportunities. Only 29 percent of those survey respondents have implemented greenhouse gas reduction programs with specific targets and timelines.

However, the CDP5 response rate (56 percent of the S&P500 responded to the CDP questionnaire) increased in all 10 industry sectors of the S&P500, with 9 of the 10 having a response rate greater than 50 percent, suggesting to the CDP that U.S. industry has reached a tipping point in addressing the issue.

“Increasingly, investors view good carbon management as a sign of good corporate management,” said Paul Dickinson, CEO of CDP. “Our investors are using the quality of the disclosure as a very useful tool to assess how seriously a company is taking the issues of climate change. As CDP data plays an increasingly important role in informing investors on a company’s approach to climate change, the pressure is increasing on companies to respond. And by moving CDP data collection into company supply chain management, CDP’s reach will grow enormously.”

The CDP also launched a Climate Disclosure Leadership Index that CDP says is comprised of 68 FT500 companies that show distinction in their responses to the CDP survey based on their reporting of greenhouse gas emissions and assessment of climate change strategies.

Companies with leading disclosure practise highlighted in the CDLI include Hewlett Packard, Citigroup, Coca Cola, Wal-Mart Stores, Inc., Royal Bank of Scotland, Allianz and Unilever. The S&P500 report rates companies under the Climate Governance Index on disclosure, emissions reductions and strategy, with leaders including DuPont, General Motors, Consolidated Edison, Alcoa, United Technologies and 3M.

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