CDP 2009: More Global 500 Firms View Climate Change as a Key Issue

CDP 2009: More Global 500 Firms View Climate Change as a Key Issue

Climate change is increasingly important to the majority of the world’s largest business, according to new Carbon Disclosure Project reports that show the highest response to date for the annual study charting corporate efforts to reduce greenhouse gas emissions.

The CDP’s Global 500 and  S&P 500 reports, produced by PricewaterhouseCoopers, were released today in New York where the Climate Week conference is under way. 

For the past week, CDP CEO Paul Dickinson has previewed the reports exclusively for GreenBiz.com and offered snapshots of the latest results of the annual study that is now in its seventh year. The launch of the reports, which are available at the CDP’s website, provides in-depth detail of the findings. 

For the Global 500 report, 409 responded to the survey, a figure that represents 82 percent of the Global 500 and an increase from the 77 percent that responded in 2008. The report also provides the highest level of disclosed corporate greenhouse gas emissions to date. Eighty-three percent of respondents reported Scope 1 or 2 emissions, compared with 72 percent last year. (Scope 1 greenhouse gas emissions are those generated through the direct burning of fossil fuels; Scope 2 emissions are generated from purchased electricity.)

Among U.S. companies, 332 firms -- 66 percent -- of the S&P 500 responded, up from 64 percent in 2008. Seventy-nine percent of the respondents disclosed corporate greenhouse gas emissions, compared to 73 percent last year. In addition, 52 percent of the respondents reported emissions reduction targets, a jump from the 32 percent in 2008.

And for the first time, the CDP rated firms based on their performance in responding to climate change and reducing their contributions to the problem.

The top 12 high performing companies in the Global 500 are Accenture, Allianz, BASF, Boeing, Cisco Systems, Consolidated Edison, EMC, Nokia Group, Reckitt Benckiser, Royal Dutch Shell, Siemens and Swiss Re, the CDP said.

Among S&P 500 companies, Cisco Systems, Boeing and Pepco Holdings, Consolidated Edison, EMC, E.I. du Pont de Nemours, Hewlett Packard, PPG Industries and Transocean topped the list of firms leading efforts to battle climate change.

The review of performance is intended to complement the CDP’s longstanding Carbon Disclosure Leadership Index (CDLI), which rates firms according to the level and quality of their disclosure and their reporting of greenhouse gas emissions and information about climate change strategy.

Highest scoring Global 500 companies on the CDLI, according to the CDP, are Bayer, BASF, HSBC Holdings, Walmart Stores, Chevron, Cisco Systems, PG&E, Public Service Enterprise Group, Spectra Energy, Bank of Montreal, Boeing, Carnival, Rio Tinto and Samsung Electronics.

S&P 500 companies heading the CDLI included Comerica, Walmart, Chevron, PG&E, Public Service Enterprise Group and Spectra Energy. U.S. firms with high scores on the CDLI and in performance included Boeing, Cisco Systems, Consolidated Edison, E.I. du Pont de Nemours, EMC, Hewlett Packard, News Corporation, Pepco Holdings, PPG Industries and Transocean.

Viewing participation in terms of geography, companies in five countries --  France, Germany, Japan, the U.S. and the U.K. -- accounted for 70 percent of study respondents. They also accounted for  70 percent of total emissions disclosed, the CDP's Global 500 report said. The report noted that the response rate from Brazil, Russia, India and China has doubled since 2008, reaching 44 percent this year. The number of Asian companies responding increased by 39 percent, growing from 51 in 2008 to 71 this year.

The report also found that firms covered by the EU Emissions Trading Scheme tended to score higher on performance and disclosure, by 25 percent and 20 percent respectively, than other countries.

The Carbon Disclosure Project, an independent nonprofit founded in 2000, represents some 475 global institutional investors, with more than US $55 trillion in assets under management. More information on the CDP and its Global 500 and S&P 500 reports is available at www.cdproject.net.