A report released today (20 July) by environmental data firm Trucost suggests listed companies on the Hong Kong Stock Exchange are gradually improving their transparency and carbon disclosure measures.

Over the three-year period from 2011 to 2013, the number of companies reporting their greenhouse gas emissions rose from 15% to 19% as more and more investors called for companies to ensure they are managing risks in relation to climate change.

But this disclosure rate remains well below the global average for businesses, which stands at 45%, according to Trucost. Moreover, the carbon emissions that were reported by the 100 listed companies revealed an increase of 16% over the three-year period, highlighting the need for companies to improve their green ambition as well as their reporting. 

Trucost’s report – Carbon Matters: A Review of Listed Companies’ Carbon Disclose and Performance in Hong Kong – found just two Hong Kong listed companies reported their data in line with best practice for greenhouse gas reporting.

Trucost head of Asia business development Chaoni Huang said: “If companies and investors are to ensure future business growth, they need to develop low carbon, sustainable business models. Carbon disclosure is an essential first step that they must take to manage the risks and opportunities of climate change.”

The report was compiled on behalf of the British Consulate in Hong Kong and the UK Foreign Office.

Japanese target

Last week saw Japan submit its plans for cutting its greenhouse gas emissions by 26% by 2030 from 2013 levels, according to Reuters.

The target’s baseline comes after Japan’s fossil fuel use increased following shutdowns at its nuclear power plants in the wake of the 2011 Fukushima disaster.

Japan says nuclear energy will make up 20% of its electricity mix in 2030, with a renewable energy target of 22-24%. The announcement comes as Japan’s official commitment to the Paris climate change talks in December.

China coal cap

Meanwhile in China, sustainability groups last week called for a coal cap in 2020 to reduce pressure on water resources and improve public health, as well as potentially saving hundreds of billions of Chinese yuan.

A report from the Natural Resources Defence Council (NRDC) and the World Wildlife Fund estimated a coal cap could save the country 251bn yuan (£26bn) by 2020and save 49,000 people from diseases related to air pollution.

The findings also suggested China could reduce coal’s water consumption by nearly 30% by capping its use of coal in 2020. The cap would save China an estimated 18 billion cubic meters of water compared to current levels.

The NRDC’s Coal Consumption Cap project aims to develop a strategy for creating a binding national coal cap by 2020. Late last year, China and the US made ‘historic’ pledges on greenhouse gas emissions, as the leaders of the two countries met for talks in Beijing.

Both China and Japan fall into the top 10 carbon emittters in the world

Matt Field

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