One of the most interesting findings was a suggested correlation between financial performance and how well a company takes action on climate change and discloses it. The organization found that companies on the Carbon Disclosure Leadership Index and Carbon Performance Leadership Index produced double the returns to their shareholders than the average return of the Global 500 index as a whole.
The CDP highlighted the top 10 performing companies that made both lists. They include: Bank of America, Bayer, BMW, Cisco Systems, Honda Motor Company, Philips Electronics, SAP, Sony Corporation, Tesco and Westpac Banking Corporation.
We couldn't help but notice that some of these companies have seen their share of troubles recently. Just last week, for instance, Bank of America said it would lay off 30,000 workers. Cisco, meanwhile, has lowered sales forecasts and laid off nearly 13,000 employees this year, while Bayer has faced uncertainty lately over approval of a key drug.
Granted, these developments took place in just the last few weeks, while the potential correlation between financial and climate performance raised by CDP is based on earnings from January 2005 through May 2011. I suppose that although no one likes layoffs, it is a cost-cutting move designed to shore up the bottom line, which will ultimately continue to deliver returns to shareholders, though not in the way many would like.
Next page: What the leaders are doing to succeed