Apple and Google among world’s best low-carbon companies

Apple, Google, SABMiller and Unilever have been ranked as some of the best-performing companies in promoting low-carbon outputs, according to a new report from the international non-profit CDP.

With just three weeks to go until the COP21 talks in Paris, CDP released its Climate Change Report on behalf of 822 investors representing $95trn. The report also includes the 2015 A-List, which highlights companies identified as A-grade for their actions to combat climate change.

Large British-based companies Diageo, Sainsbury’s and Carillion all received the highest grade on the list, based on their carbon initiatives and the transparency of their reporting.

However notable by its absence in CDP’s analysis is Facebook, which failed to disclose information to investors. Around 55% of listed companies did not respond to CDP’s disclosure request.


CDP’s executive chairman and co-founder Paul Dickinson said: “The influence of the corporation is mighty. The momentum of business action on climate change suggests we have reached a tipping point, where companies are poised to achieve their full potential. They need ambitious policy at both a national and international level that will support them in this regard and will catalyse participation from industry at scale.”

The report found that out of the 1,997 companies that submitted data to investors, 94% have assigned a board or senior management system to oversee the company’s responsibility to climate change, with a further 75% offering incentives for improved climate performance.

CDP also revealed that nine out of ten companies that disclosed information now implement initiatives that are lowering carbon outputs, double the number of companies from 2010.

UK improvement

The number of companies that now implement low carbon schemes has almost doubled since 2010. UK companies, in particular have shown ‘considerable improvement’ in climate management and disclosure in the last five years.

The amount of UK companies initiating emission reduction activities in 2015 reached 89% – a 42% increase from 2010. The number of FTSE 350 equity index companies based in the UK disclosing information to CDP also grew from 219 to 232.

In terms of a global outlook, the most common projects being introduced to lower emissions include low carbon generators, energy efficient buildings and changing behavioural aspects of staff.

The report states that 36% of the listed companies have switched to renewable energy to reduce emissions. Despite its relatively fledgling exposure, already 435 are using an internal carbon price.

In the report a statement from Google read: “Google uses carbon prices as part of our risk assessment model. For example, the risk assessment at individual data centres also includes using a shadow price for carbon to estimate expected future energy costs.”

Short sighted

Yesterday, a report from nonprofit organisation Ceres found that corporate board directors are failing to deliver tangible environmental impacts despite incorporating sustainability into a company’s ethos. The report suggested adopting a long-term mind-set to increase positive environmental impacts.

Despite the growth in corporate reporting, the majority of businesses are still implementing short-term targets over the next few years. CDP cites uncertain political and policy environments as the likely reason, with many waiting on the results from the Paris talks, which edie has explained in-depth, before committing.

Last week CDP also revealed that Ford, Colgate Palmolive and Toyota were ranked as some of the best performing companies in regards to water security.

Matt Mace

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