Climate change registers on US corporate radar

More American businesses than ever before are taking into account the risks, and opportunities, created by climate change.

This is the claim of the Carbon Disclosure Project (CDP), a global coalition of corporate investors who, with assets of over US$21 trillion to back them up, have a voice that could command attention in the US financial sector.

Big business in the United States has a global reputation for following the lead of government and burying its head in the sand when it comes to climate change.

But according to the CDP, this trend is starting to change as more analysts wake up to the fact changing weather patterns, or at least the threat of them, will affect the way business is done.

The project has published a Climate Leadership Index which looks at greenhouse gas emissions and climate change strategies of FT500 then lists the 60 'best in class'.

This year 70% of businesses approached responded to the request for information, up from 59% last year and just 47% at its launch the year before, figures the CDP argues show a growing interest in the area.

CDP chairman James Cameron said: "Wall Street is waking up to climate change risks and opportunities.

"Considerably more of the world's largest companies are getting a handle on what climate change means for their business and what they need to do to capture opportunities and mitigate risks.

"This all points to a continued elevation of climate change as a critical shareholder value issue for investors."

But while there might be light at the end of the tunnel, the report also highlighted the large gap between awareness and action.

While over half of the FT500 reported their emissions for the CDP index, less than 50 of them had actually reduced them over the past year.

Only 51% of respondents have introduced programmes to reduce emissions and just 45% have set self-imposed targets.

Less than 35% have taken early action on emissions trading.

And all the awareness in the world is of little use until it is translated into real action on the ground.

By Sam Bond



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