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BoA, Sony, UPS Recognized As Carbon Leaders

Bank of America, Sony and UPS are among the ten best performing companies in the 2011 edition of the Carbon Disclosure Project (CDP) Global 500 report.

The report examines carbon reduction activities at the world’s largest public corporations, and for the first time in the ten-year history of the survey, it found that the majority of companies have climate change actions embedded as part of their business strategy – 68%, up from 48% in 2010.

There was also a marked rise in the number of companies reporting reduced greenhouse gas emissions – 45%, up from 19% in 2010.

The report, written by PwC on behalf of CDP, attributes this to growing board-level awareness of the link between energy efficiency and increased profitability.

A correlation was also established between higher stock market performance over time, and representation on CDP’s Carbon Performance Leadership Index (CPLI) and the Carbon Disclosure Leadership Index (CDLI). Companies with a strategic focus on climate change provided investors with approximately double the average total return of the Global 500 from January 2005 to May 2011.

Climate Change Is Now a Boardroom Issue

Rising oil prices, energy supply risks and growing recognition of the commercial returns on investments in emissions reduction activities contributed to the growth in importance of climate change as a boardroom issue.

Over half (59%) of reported emissions reduction activities delivered payback in three years or less according to company submissions. These include energy efficiency projects (building fabric, building services and processes), low carbon energy installations and staff behavioral change.

Employee incentives to reduce emissions are now offered by 65% of companies, compared with 49% in 2010.

The Carbon Performance Leadership Index and Carbon Disclosure Leadership Index are revised annually based on company submissions and present the leaders of the Global 500 in carbon performance and disclosure respectively.

Only four companies in the world received this years highest score of 99. They are UPS, Philips Electronics, Bayer, and Deutsche Post.

There are 14 new entrants to the 2011 Carbon Performance Leadership Index, which counts just 29 companies due to more demanding criteria applied by CDP. These are:

  • USA: Air Products & Chemicals, Lockheed Martin, Morgan Stanley
  • Japan: Honda Motor Company, Sony Corporation
  • Germany: SAP
  • France: AXA Group, Schneider Electric
  • Italy: ENEL, FIAT
  • United Kingdom: British American Tobacco, BG Group, Glaxo SmithKline
  • Switzerland: Novartis

Other key findings from CDP’s Global 500 report include:

- 74% of Global 500 respondents reported emissions reduction targets, up from 65% in 2010

- The majority of respondents (93%) reported board or senior executive oversight for climate change (up from 85% in 2010) demonstrating the importance of climate change as a management issue

- Utilities is the sector with the best average climate change performance

- Just 37% of respondents currently verify their emissions to acceptable standards, despite the importance of providing investors with validated climate data

Bart King is a PR consultant and founder of Cleantech Communications.               

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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