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Report Report

Report Report: Packaging, resiliency, extinction and the state of the transition

A monthly wrap-up of recent research on sustainable business and clean technology.

The Report Report is a monthly wrap-up of recent research on sustainable business and clean technology, produced by Corporate Eco Forum, a by-invitation membership organization comprised of large, global companies that demonstrate a serious commitment at the senior executive level to sustainability as a business strategy issue.

Climate Resiliency: Business Leader Views and Actions (AT&T) analyzes survey responses from 619 U.S. business leaders to better understand how businesses are preparing for climate change. Key findings include:

  • 27 percent of business leaders surveyed have experienced a negative financial impact due to severe weather events, including hurricanes, flooding, wildfires and droughts.
  • 59 percent view climate change as a medium or high priority.
  • 39 percent believe businesses should be an active participant or a participant in public discourse on climate change.
  • 40 percent say their company is quantifying potential financial impacts of climate change, and 81 percent say their company expects the financial impact of climate change to be at least somewhat significant.
  • 59 percent believe their businesses are climate resilient.
  • 53 percent say their company does not use climate change data or advanced technology services to solve and predict climate-change-related issues.

Countdown to Extinction (Greenpeace) assesses the progress companies have made against their deforestation-related commitments for 2020, including those made by members of the Consumer Goods Forum and those who signed the New York Declaration on Forests. The report finds that around 1.2 trillion acres of forest likely will be destroyed for global commodity production by the end of 2020 despite corporate commitments to halt deforestation.

Countdown to Zero: Plotting Progress Towards Delivering Net Zero Emissions by 2050 (Energy & Climate Intelligence Unit) finds that 15 nations, 11 states and regions and 23 cities — representing nearly one-sixth (16 percent) of global GDP — have declared the intention of achieving net zero emissions by 2050 at the latest. The report also finds that at least 34 companies, with annual income above $1 billion, have set net zero emissions targets to date. 

Deep Decarbonization: The Multi-Trillion Dollar Question (Wood Mackenzie) estimates that it would cost $4.5 trillion to fully decarbonize the U.S. power grid over the next 10 to 20 years. The study also estimates that about 1,600GW of new wind and solar capacity would be needed to replace all fossil fuel generation in the Unites States.

Engaging Business in the NDCs (GRI and CDP) assesses how companies have reported on their contributions to Nationally Determined Contributions (NDCs) aimed at cutting emissions and adapting to the impacts of climate change. The whitepaper also sets out recommendations for policymakers to improve business contributions to NDCs.

G20 Coal Subsidies: Tracking Government Support to a Fading Industry (Overseas Development Institute, NRDC, IISD, Oil Change International) estimates that G20 nations provide around $64 billion annually in government support to coal production and consumption. The report also finds that G20 nations' support for the production of coal-fired power generation increased to nearly $47.3 billion annually in 2016–2017, up from $17.2 billion annually in 2013-14.

Global Goals, Ocean Opportunities (UN Global Compact) connects the dots between a healthy marine environment and long-term business success, based on a consultation with 300 representatives of business, civil society and academia. The report also lays out how businesses can leverage ocean sustainability to boost progress against the 17 Global Goals. 

Major Risk or Rosy Opportunity: Are Companies Ready for Climate Change? (CDP) examines disclosures from more than 7,000 companies worldwide to identify the business risks and opportunities related to climate change. Key findings include:

  • The 215 biggest global companies report nearly $1 trillion at risk from climate impacts, with many likely to hit within the next five years.
  • Companies report a potential $250 billion in losses due to the write-offs of assets.
  • Climate business opportunities are calculated at $2.1 trillion, nearly all of which are highly likely or virtually certain. Potential value of sustainable business opportunities are almost seven times the cost of realizing them ($311 billion in costs vs. $2.1 trillion in opportunities).
  • Over 80 percent of disclosing companies see major climate impacts, including extreme weather patterns, rising global temperatures and increased pricing of GHG emissions.
  • Financial companies forecast $1.2 trillion in potential revenue from low emissions products and services, followed by manufacturing ($338 billion), services ($149 billion), fossil fuels ($141 billion) and the food, beverage and agriculture industries ($106 billion).
  • The financial services industry represents almost 80 percent of the total potential financial impacts in the sample set. 

New Energy Outlook 2019 (Bloomberg New Energy Finance) estimates that wind and solar will account for nearly 50 percent of global power generation by 2050. The report also finds that wind and solar are the cheapest technologies to deploy across more than two-thirds of the world, and have the potential to undercut commissioned coal and gas almost everywhere by 2030.

Packaging Away the Planet (Greenpeace) ranks 20 large U.S. grocery retailers on their efforts to eliminate single-use plastics. The report gave the highest scores to ALDI, Kroger and Albertsons Companies.

Renewable Energy and Jobs — Annual Review 2019 (IRENA) finds that the renewable energy industry employed 11 million people globally in 2018 — up from 10.3 million in 2017. The report also finds that solar PV employed the most people, with 3.6 million jobs globally. More than a third (39 percent) of all renewable energy jobs are in China.

State of Transition Report 2019 (Transition Pathway Initiative) assesses the state of the transition of 274 of the world’s highest-emitting publicly listed companies towards a low-carbon economy. Key findings include:

  • 46 percent of companies are not adequately integrating climate change into their business decisions.
  • 25 percent of companies do not disclose their own carbon emissions.
  • 27 percent of companies improved how they integrate climate change into their business decisions.
  • 84 percent of companies do not disclose an internal carbon price, and 86 percent are yet to undertake and disclose climate scenario planning.
  • 16 percent of companies assessed for their current and planned GHG emissions are aligned with the 2-degree Celsius benchmark.
  • 12.5 percent of companies assessed for their current and planned GHG emissions are aligned with the most ambitious below 2C benchmark. These include E.ON, Iberdrola, Stora Enso and Edison International. 

Waking the Sleeping Giant (Shelton Group) surveys 1,000 Americans to better understand consumers’ changing perceptions of single-use plastics, plastic packaging and plastic waste. Key findings include:

  • 80 percent of Americans surveyed have heard "at least a little" about single-use plastic bans.
  • More than half (59 percent) of Americans surveyed have heard the most about "climate change" from news, social media, family and friends, while nearly the same amount of respondents (57 percent) have heard the most about "plastics in the ocean" from these same sources.
  • Most respondents (27 percent) feel that plastic waste is the one issue they can affect the most.
  • A majority of respondents (58 percent) say that they have more favorable views of brands that limit plastic use in packaging. 

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