Large UK Firms Making Progress on Nat'l Climate Goals, Intensive Sectors Lag

Large UK Firms Making Progress on Nat'l Climate Goals, Intensive Sectors Lag

power lines -- CC licensed by Flickr user naama

Although the U.K.'s 100 largest companies are making headway toward the country's climate change goals as a whole, its most carbon-intensive industries are lagging with emissions reduction targets that fall short of national goals.

The Carbon Disclosure Project analyzed 2009 responses from U.K. FTSE 100 companies to explore how their emissions reduction targets stacked up against those being pursued under the 2008 U.K. Climate Change Act. Under the legislation, the U.K. is to reduce greenhouse gas emissions by 80 percent below 1990 levels by 2050, with an interim reduction target of 34-42 percent by 2020.

This breaks down to a 2.4 percent average annual reduction rate. FTSE 100 company targets will yield a 2.5 percent average annual reduction rate, CDP determined in its latest report, "FTSE 100 Carbon Chasm."

In comparison, the targets of the energy, utilities and materials sectors only amounts to a 1.2 percent average annual reduction rate. Twenty-four such companies in the FTSE 100 are responsible for 87 percent of the emissions reported by the index constituents.{related_content}
"If we continue on the trajectory set by the carbon intensive FTSE 100 companies, of just 1.2 percent annual reduction in emissions, we will not achieve the required (2020) reduction until 2030, 10 years too late," the CDP wrote in the report.

Health care and telecommunications outperformed all sectors with 5.1 percent and 4.8 percent average annual reduction rates, respectively. Not far behind were Consumer Staples and Consumer Discretionary, with average annual reduction rates of 3.7 percent and 3.3 percent, respectively.

A closer look at the targets of the FTSE 100 companies also found the vast majority -- 84 percent -- set companywide emissions reduction goals. Sixty percent set carbon dioxide equivalent (CO2e) goals, while 28 percent used energy consumption as their metric.

Nearly half of the targets were absolute, while 31 percent were based on intensity; nearly 20 percent used both.

Image CC licensed by Flickr user naama.