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Carbon Disclosure’s S&P 500 Rankings Show Improved Reporting; Pepco, NYSE, Wells Fargo Lead

Pepco Holdings, NYSE Euronext and Wells Fargo received the highest scores in the Carbon Disclosure Project’s annual carbon performance and disclosure ratings for the S&P 500.

The CDP S&P 500 Climate Change Report, co-written by CDP and PwC, states that S&P 500 companies are making “significant strides” in both transparency and progress towards carbon goals when compared to the Global 500.

“The results highlight a tipping point in the actions being taken in American C-suites and boardrooms to integrate a sustainability agenda into overall business strategy despite a lack of comprehensive regulatory requirements in the US,” CDP said in a release.

The average disclosure score, calculated by CDP to reflect each company’s transparency on climate change, has increased by 13% and the average disclosure score required by companies to achieve a position in the Carbon Disclosure Leadership Index (CDLI) has increased by 11% to 92. This is now on par with the minimum score of 94 required for a position on the Global 500 CDLI and shows that the quality of reporting in the United States continues to improve.

Further, the average S&P 500 performance score, which ranks companies according to the scale and quality of their emissions reductions and strategies, increased 44%, with the addition of 24 companies eligible to receive performance scores.

The performance and disclosure indices are combined to determine the top 10 companies, which is dominated by the financial sector. Rounding out the list are: Ace, Eaton, Exelon, Autodesk, Bank of America, Lockheed Martin and Allstate.

The findings are based on 338 company responses to the investor request for information. Among the S&P 500 92% of the survey respondents reported board or executive-level oversight compared to 86% in 2011 and 25% of respondents disclosed greenhouse gas information in their Annual Reports, up from 18% in 2011.

Globally, according to the CDP Global 500 Climate Change Report - also released today - this year has seen a 10% increase in companies integrating climate change into their business strategies (2012: 78%, 2011: 68%), contributing to a 13.8% reduction in reported corporate greenhouse gas emissions from 3.6 billion metric tons in 2009 to 3.1 billion metric tons in 2012. The fall is equivalent to closing 227 gas-fired power stations or taking 138 million cars off the road. A third of companies (31%) however reported no emissions reductions.

Globally, the top ten companies by disclosure and performance for 2012 are Bayer, Nestle, BASF, BMW, Gas Natural SDG, Diageo, Nokia Group, Allianz Group, UBS and Panasonic. Notably, U.S. companies Bank of American and UPS did not hold their top-10 rankings from last year.

@Bart_King is a freelance writer and communications consultant.

Bart King is the principal of New Growth Communications, a network of affiliated content producers and strategists serving clients in the emerging green economy. He is also Associate Editor of Sponsored Content for Sustainable Brands. Follow him @bart_king [Read more about Bart King]

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