Investor pressure helps cut corporate emissions by 641 million tonnes

Influential investors with $22trn in assets have helped reduce global corporate emissions by 641 million tonnes through collaboration with CDP's Carbon Action initiative.

CDP's initiative has seen 304 global investors come together to help tackle climate change by reducing emissions

CDP's initiative has seen 304 global investors come together to help tackle climate change by reducing emissions

The 304 members of the Carbon Action initiative ask companies to help tackle climate change in three ways: making emissions reductions; publicly disclosing emissions reduction targets; and investing in emissions-reduction projects with a positive return.

This year alone the investor group has generated 641 million tonnes of carbon savings - the equivalent to closing down 168 coal-fired power plants.

This type of active engagement with polluting firms is much more effective in getting them to reduce emissions than simple divestment, some experts believe.

The CDP  programme focuses specifically on companies from energy-intensive sectors like oil & gas, mining and transportation sectors. 

CDP's strategic advisor on investor initiatives Helen Wildsmith welcomed the progress made so far, but said the group would be ramping up its efforts in 2016.

She said: "The period through to 2020 is critical for climate change, and this action-oriented initiative's second five years will help drive more strategic change across over 1300 major companies in high impact sectors."

In the last year the Carbon Action initiative has seen a 130% increase in the number of emission-reductions projects introduced by contacted companies, covering a range of areas from transportation use to renewable energy.

Carbon Action Infographic

CDP has also announced that it is strengthening the methodology of self-reported emissions data to help companies and investor portfolios highlight carbon risks. In collaboration with Enviance Inc. CDP will offer supporting models to help with the accuracy of disclosing carbon footprints in order to give investors access to ‘high quality’ emissions data to be used in analysis and target setting.

Potential partnerships

CDP’s announcement builds on the possibility that the cost of worldwide clean energy technology deployments could be reduced by up to $550bn over the next 10 years if countries adopted global collaboration, which was first suggested in a report from the Carbon Trust.

Globally collaborating on clean energy has taken a significant stride in the last week alone, with Bill Gates launching the Breakthrough Energy Coalition aimed at creating affordable and reliable clean energy for the entire planet.

Matt Mace


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