BASF, Baxter Lead Inaugural Carbon Rankings

by | Nov 1, 2011

BASF has topped carbon rankings of the world’s largest 1,270 companies, as the only one to disclose complete scope 3 emissions data, according to the Environmental Tracker from the Environmental Investment Organisation.

The EIO today issued its first global rankings and first regional rankings for North America, Asia-Pacific and BRIC nations. These build on the methodology used in its ET UK 100 and ET Europe 300, launched in April.

Those rankings placed companies into one of four disclosure and verification categories based on their scope 1 and 2 emissions, and then ranked the companies by carbon intensity. Now the EIO has added rewards for companies that report scope 3 emissions, which the organization said can account for more than 75 percent of a company’s total carbon footprint.

BASF came top in both the ET Global 800 Carbon Ranking (pdf) and the updated ET Europe 300, disclosing all 15 categories defined by the new GHG Protocol Scope 3 Reporting Standard, with a combined scope 1, 2 and 3 emissions intensity of 1,077.70 tCO2e/$M turnover. April’s European winner, Aviva, drops out of the top five.

Moving down the global list, Anglo American came second, followed by Gold Fields, Alcatel-Lucent, Santander BR, Baxter International (the highest-ranked U.S. company), Vale, Westpac Banking, Commerzbank and National Ausbank.

U.S.-based First Energy comes last, with no public data and an inferred combined scope 1, 2 and 3 emissions intensity of 10,287.39 tCO2e/$M turnover. Two other U.S. energy companies, Edison International and Entergy, join it in the bottom three. Rounding out the bottom ten were Inter RAO UES, Fluor, Fortune Brands, Hutchison Whampoa, Honeywell, Jardine Strategic HDGS and Jardine Matheson HDGS.

Environmental Leader’s analysis last month of Fluor’s latest sustainability report noted that the publication was light on data, as the company chose not to disclose annual absolute or relative energy consumption, greenhouse gas emissions, water consumption or waste output.

The EIO rankings show that Exxon Mobil and ArcelorMittal have the two highest publicly disclosed Scope 1 and 2 figures, globally.

Baxter came first in the ET North America 300, disclosing six scope 3 categories, followed closely by UPS, which disclosed five. They each led their respective sector globally. (Some of the U.S. sector rankings are shown in the chart above.)

Both companies make frequent appearances in sustainability rankings. Last month Baxter ranked in the top five in the Newsweek Green Rankings, and both were in the top ten of the Corporate Social Responsibility index.

Rounding out the North American top five were Praxair, Bank of America and DuPont.

Westpac Banking topped the Asia-Pacific grouping, and Gold Fields came first in the BRICS ranking, followed closely by Santander Brazil.

EIO said its new scope 3 methodology erodes some of the advantages previously enjoyed by financial companies. Banks typically have low operational emissions. But their real impact lies beyond their operations in their investment and lending activities, EIO said. Excluding scope 3 data therefore pains an inaccurate picture of the company’s GHG emissions, the organization argued.

The rankings found that 208, or 26 percent, of companies within the ET Global 800 report one or more scope 3 categories. However, only 17, or two percent, report five or more scope 3 categories.

Among North American companies, 23 percent reported one or more scope 3 categories, but only five companies reported five or more such categories.

EIO found that 55 percent of companies in the ET Global 800 report provided incomplete data or no data at all, and only 21 percent report public, complete and independently verified data. Europe led on disclosure, with 53.6 percent of its companies reporting complete and independently verified data, and North America came last with 9.4 percent.

The Netherlands is the only country with 100 percent disclosure within the ET Global 800, EIO found, followed by Italy, with 88 percent, and Germany, with 84 percent. Europe is also the region with the lowest GHG intensity with an average of 1861.3 tCO2e/$M turnover across all three scopes.

This compares with an average of 3122.97 tCO2e/$M turnover among BRICS companies.. But this gap must be viewed in light of significant outsourcing by multinationals to emerging economies, EIO said.

The EIO aims to translate the carbon rankings into a series of stock market indices designed to tackle climate change. It foresees these mimicking the performance of mainstream indices such as the FTSE100 or S&P500, while applying share price pressure to get companies to lower emissions and improve disclosure. The EIO launched its first two pilot indices, based on its European and U.K. rankings, earlier this year.

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