Corporate giants must crank up carbon reduction

The world's largest companies must double their efforts to reduce their emissions if we are to avoid dangerous levels of climate change, according to the Carbon Disclosure Project.

A new report published by the organisation, which tracks the emissions of big players around the world, says that at the current rate the world’s largest 100 companies will reach the scientifically recommended level of greenhouse gas cuts by 2089 – 39 years too late.

Taken as a group the companies are making annual reductions of just 1.9% while 3.9% is needed in order to cut emissions in developed economies by 80% in 2050.

Paul Dickinson, CEO of the Carbon Disclosure Project, said: “While 73% of Global 100 companies have set some form of reduction target, the majority need to be far more aggressive if they are to achieve the long-term reductions required.

“This is a time of huge opportunity for businesses to gain competitive advantage by reducing their own impact on the climate and benefit from associated cost savings, as well as sparking major innovation around the production of new, lower carbon products and services.”

When quizzed on the thinking behind their carbon reduction strategies, most companies cited purely commercial reasons, such as cutting energy bills, keeping ahead of future legislation and gaining a competitive advantage.

Meeting scientific recommendations was not, perhaps unsurprisingly, their top priority.

The report, Carbon Chasm, highlights some recommendations to close the gap:

  • Every company should set a CO2-e reduction target.
  • Targets must have clear baseline and target years.
  • Governments need to agree clear medium and long-term reduction goals in Copenhagen to provide a framework for business to set required targets.
  • Company targets should reflect the IPCC scientific recommendations and whilst absolute targets are preferred for clarity, aggressive intensity targets can also deliver.
  • David Gibbs

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