Despite U.S. companies lagging behind global firms in taking action to reduce greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions, several U.S. companies including Cisco Systems, ConEd, News Corp., Praxair and Spectra Energy are emerging as climate change leaders, according to the 2010 Carbon Disclosure Project (CDP) S&P Report, produced by PwC.
A key finding reveals that about 70 percent of firms surveyed believe they can leverage new commercial opportunities and improve relations with customers, employees and other stakeholders by addressing sustainability and climate change issues.
However, there are three times as many Global 500 companies (48) compared to S&P 500 (14) that scored well enough to be recognized on this year’s new Carbon Performance Leadership Index (CPLI), says CDP. These companies scored the highest by demonstrating a commitment to strategy, setting emissions reductions plans, governance and stakeholder communications.
The survey also finds the gap widening between the companies in the CPLI and other companies in the S&P 500 index. For example, 93 percent of the S&P 500 CPLI companies report integrating climate change risks or opportunities into their overall business strategy, compared to 35 percent of all respondents in the sample.
In addition, more than half of the CPLI companies report in their CDP submission that they have achieved significant emissions reductions in the past year, compared to just 15 percent of all respondents.
Of those companies that made the S&P 500 CPLI, the utilities sector had the highest representation, with 36 percent, representing five companies.
The response rate for this year’s S&P 500 was the highest level ever at 70 percent, with 32 companies responding to CDP for the first time. CDP says more companies are disclosing their emissions, up from 52 percent in 2009 to 59 percent this year, or a 30 percent increase since 2008.
The Global 500 Report was launched today at the CDP Global Forum, which marks the beginning of Climate Week.