Report Report

Report Report: Water, energy, forestry, the SDGs and the circular economy

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.

2017 Climate Survey: Evaluating Progress on Climate Change (Globescan and SustainAbility) finds that 55 percent of sustainability experts surveyed believe that global climate progress will not occur fast enough to avoid the worst impacts of climate change; 30 percent think that at least some progress has been achieved on the Paris Agreement goals. Survey respondents identified Unilever and Tesla as the global corporate leaders in addressing climate change, with IKEA, Apple, Google and Patagonia also receiving recognition for their efforts.

2017 Global Forests Report (CDP) finds that 87 percent of companies that disclose to CDP have identified business risks related to deforestation, and 32 percent of these companies already experience impacts from these risks. However, only 13 percent of companies analyzed have made a time-bound commitment to zero deforestation to date. Other key findings include:

  • An estimated $941 billion of turnover in publicly listed companies is dependent on commodities linked to deforestation, up from $906 billion in 2016.
  • More than a third of companies have not assigned their boards with responsibility for addressing deforestation.
  • 77 percent of companies are failing to disclose how these risks impact their business, leaving investors with unanswered questions about the risk to their portfolios. 

2017 Global Water Report (CDP) finds that companies disclosing water data reported 3,770 water risks to CDP in 2017, including higher operating costs, supply chain disruption and water supply disruption. Other key findings include:

  • Companies analyzed are committing $23.4 billion across more than 1,000 water-related projects in 91 countries around the world.
  • 70 percent of companies analyzed have board-level oversight of water issues.
  • 20 percent of companies are developing a comprehensive view of their water risk exposure.
  • 56 percent of companies have set water targets or goals; a majority are short-term targets or goals.
  • 41 percent of companies are engaging with their suppliers, requiring them to report water management activities.

A new textiles economy: Redesigning fashion's future (Ellen MacArthur Foundation) finds that the fashion industry is on track to consume a quarter of the world’s annual carbon budget by 2050, as the equivalent of one garbage truck of textiles is wasted every second and less than 1 percent of clothing is recycled into new clothes. The report lays out a vision for a more sustainable textiles economy that could unlock $500 billion in economic benefits for business and society. 

Accelerating Corporate Leadership on the Global Goals (Corporate Citizenship) analyzes survey responses from over 160 individuals across 42 countries to assess corporate progress on the Sustainable Development Goals. Key findings include:

  • 99 percent of respondents stated their company or organization is aware of the SDGs. However, 20 percent of respondents signaled that they have "no plans to do anything about them," up from 13 percent in 2016.
  • The number of respondents "actively involved in a collaboration related to the SDGs" decreased from 40 percent in 2016 to 33 percent in 2017.
  • 43 percent of the FTSE 100 in the U.K. and 34 percent of the Fortune 50 in the U.S. have mapped their business or corporate responsibility strategy to the SDGs.
  • The top priority SDGs are Goal 4, Quality Education; Goal 8, Decent Work and Economic Growth; Goal 5, Gender Equality; and Goal 11, Sustainable Cities and Communities.

America’s Pledge: Phase 1 Report (America’s Pledge initiative) provides a snapshot of the progress made by U.S. states, cities, and businesses on reducing GHG emissions in line with the Paris Agreement to date and identifies opportunities for further action.

Clean Tech 3.0: Venture Capital Investing in Early Stage Clean Energy (Ceres and Clean Energy Venture Fund) explores developments that have made the clean energy investment space more attractive to venture capitalists in recent years, including increased global demand for clean energy solutions and stronger exit mechanisms for investors. The paper also features case studies that highlight the growing opportunities for venture capital investment in early-stage clean energy solutions.

Climatescope 2017 (Bloomberg New Energy Finance) assesses clean energy investment and deployment activities across 71 developing nations in South America, Europe, Africa, the Mideast and Asia. The report finds that total new clean energy investment in non-OECD countries declined $40.2 billion to $111.4 billion in 2016, compared to $151.6 billion in 2015 (16 countries increased total investment; 18 reduced investment; 37 countries had no clean energy investment).

Global States and Regions Annual Disclosure (The Climate Group and CDP) provides a progress update on the commitments made by 110 states and regions, representing 18 percent of the global economy, to cut GHG emissions and achieve the goals set out by the Paris Agreement. The report finds that, on average, the states and regions analyzed cut their GHG emissions 8.5 percent compared to the governments’ baseline years. The report also finds that these states and regions collectively increased their climate actions by 80 percent, compared to 2016.

World Energy Outlook 2017 (International Energy Agency) predicts that global energy demand will increase 30 percent by 2040, while global energy-related carbon emissions will increase 5 percent over the same period. In addition, the report predicts that renewables will account for 40 percent of total power generation by 2040, with solar becoming the largest source of low-carbon power. The report identifies four large-scale shifts that are driving these changes in the global energy system: the United States is set to become the undisputed global oil and gas leader; renewables are being deployed rapidly due to falling costs; the share of electricity in the energy mix is growing; and China’s new economic strategy takes it on a cleaner growth mode, with implications for global energy markets.