Insurers Rank Highest in UK for Carbon Intensity, Transparency

Insurers Rank Highest in UK for Carbon Intensity, Transparency

A U.K. nonprofit has ranked the country's 100 largest companies on greenhouse gas intensity and transparency, putting two insurance companies at the top of the heap. Rounding out the bottom are a major cruise operator and a gold mining company disputing the findings.

The Environmental Investment Organisation (EIO), which bills itself as a research group promoting ecological investment systems, released its inaugural Environmental Tracking (ET) UK 100 Carbon Ranking (PDF) on Wednesday to highlight the U.K.'s climate leaders and laggards.

Insurers Amlin and Aviva took the top slots, while Carnival and Randgold Resources came in last. The research also revealed that about two-thirds of the U.K.'s largest companies report emissions data, but only half get the information verified.

"Given that each company listed in the ET UK 100 is one of the biggest in Britain, if not the world, keeping this information out of the public domain is no longer excusable," Sam Gill, the EIO's operational director, said in a statement.

The EIO said the effort is the first of a series of index carbon rankings that will one day be used to create several tradeable indexes to be launched later this year. Other rankings on the horizon include the ET Global 800, Europe 300, North America 300, Asia-Pacific 300 and BRICS 100.

The rankings are based on companies' public disclosure and verification of their Scope 1 and 2 emissions; indirect Scope 3 emissions will be included in the analysis once new standards from the Greenhouse Gas Protocol are fully introduced this year. The emissions information should be provided on corporate websites or in sustainability or annual reports.

In addition to leaders Amlin and Aviva, with carbon intensity levels of 1.21 and 1.36, respectively (million tons of carbon dioxide-equivalent/$M turnover), the top-ranked companies also include Man Group (6.29), British Sky Broadcasting (6.69), AMEC (8.31), Imperial Tobacco (8.38), Lloyds Banking Group (10.49), Experian (20.10), BT Goup (23.24) and Royal Bank of Scotland (25.58).

Last place finisher Randgold Resources, a gold mining firm whose operations are concentrated in West Africa, called the EIO's findings incorrect and unfounded on Wednesday because the company has reported its emissions to the CDP since 2007. EIO pegged its carbon intensity at 3,477.34

In response, the EIO issued a statement defending its methodology. The group does not include data reported to third parties, where there could be "restrictions or permissions (eg. The Carbon Disclosure Project) or payment," to be "publicly and freely available."