GLOBAL - US companies have been slower than their international counterparts to implement climate change programs, according to a report by the Carbon Disclosure Project (CDP).
The CDP, a collaboration of over 315 institutional investors, sent questionnaires to the world's largest publicly-owned companies which looked at the impact of climate change on shareholder value.
Paul Dickinson, CEO of CDP said: “Increasingly, investors view good carbon management as a sign of good corporate management. Our investors are using the quality of the disclosure as a very useful tool to assess how seriously a company is taking the issues of climate change.”
The report on FT500 companies concluded that the world’s corporate giants have made “significant progress in understanding and disclosing their positions relative to the risks and opportunities associated with climate change.”
In particular, the report highlighted a narrowing gap between climate awareness and action among the FT500.
Some 80% of these respondents saw climate change as presenting risks and opportunities to their business and 95% of those which considered climate change presented a commercial risk, have implemented a greenhouse gas (GHG) reduction program with a specific target and timeline.
76% of companies reported implementing a GHG emissions reduction initiative compared to 48% in last year’s CDP report.
CDP believed the trend suggested a majority of firms recognised the financial and reputational benefits of improved carbon performance.
In the S&P500 report, CDP found many leading US companies were also assessing climate change and developing response strategies, but as a group were not as far along as the FT500 sample which drew from a more international base.
Of those responding to the US survey, more saw climate change as presenting commercial risks than opportunities, only 29% have implemented GHG reduction programs with specific targets and timelines.
President Bill Clinton and Harold Ford Jr, Vice Chairman of Merrill Lynch, were among those that spoke at the launch. CDP also announced a partnership with Wal-Mart Stores, which would engage Wal-Mart's supply chain to report carbon footprints on climate change-relevant information, such as greenhouse gas emissions data, emissions reduction targets and climate change strategy.
The Global FT500 report was written by Innovest and the US S&P500 report was written by Risk Metrics Group.
CDP collaborators have assets under management valued at more than $41trn and include Merrill Lynch, Goldman Sachs, CalPERS and AIG.
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