CDP's Climate A List: Highlighting the business case for low-carbon commitments

Companies that feature in global disclosure organisation CDP's annual Climate A List - such as Sky, Apple, Tesco and Unilever - are producing 6% higher returns on average compared to other brands.

According to the report, the average carbon footprint of those on the list is around 80% lower compared to other firms

According to the report, the average carbon footprint of those on the list is around 80% lower compared to other firms

The aforementioned brands were enlisted amongst the 193 companies that made it onto CDP’s Climate A List, which grades companies on promoting low-carbon outputs and disclosing climate mitigation plans and risks.

Released alongside CDP’s Out of the Starting Blocks climate report on behalf of 827 institutional investors representing more than $100trn in assets, the Climate A list details the companies excelling in the low-carbon movement. According to the report, the average carbon footprint of those on the list is around 80% lower compared to other firms.

CDP also revealed that, on average, the 193 companies are producing 6% higher returns compared to other firms over the last four years. For 2016, the organisation is also collaborating with global index specialist STOXX and the South Pole Group to develop a series of low-carbon indices – designed to make investment into these companies “very easy”.

“Our Climate A List comprises a strong set of companies who lead on climate change mitigation today and in the future,” the report stated. “It is exciting to see the rising investor interest in the STOXX Global Climate Change Leaders Index.”

UK represents

UK companies currently represent more than 8% of the list, with the likes of Coca Cola European Partners, Diegeo, HSBC, GlaxoSmithKline and the National Grid all receiving A grades. Two Irish companies also made the list in professional services company Accenture and the Kingspan Group.

While the likes of Apple and Unilever appear in the A list again, this year’s version does provide some interesting inclusions and exclusions. Facebook and Amazon both failed to disclose and were excluded from the Starting Blocks report as a result. Google also fails to appear in the A List despite featuring last year.

Swedish home appliance manufacturer Electrolux was featured on the list during the same week that it unveiled a bold new renewables pledge. The Group has set a target to grow the share of renewable energy it sources and consumes in its operations by 50% 2020.

"We are now increasing our efforts to use more energy from renewable sources,” Electrolux’s head of sustainability affairs Henrik Sundström said. “This year, we’ve signed an agreement to only use renewable electricity in our European manufacturing of major appliances, and are moving forward with setting new goals for the rest of the world. Our ambition is that half of Electrolux energy should come from renewable sources by 2020. This means we have to more than double the share of renewable energy from today.”

Electrolux has set a goal to reduce carbon emissions by 50% by 2020 and believes that improving the energy efficiency of its appliances and promoting renewables are key to the target. Appliances already account for around 80% of the company’s environmental footprint.

Japanese tech manufacturer Canon features on the A List for the first time. The company was spearheaded by its Action for Green environmental vision, set in 2008. Action for Green sets a goal for Canon to annually reduce lifecycle carbon emissions for each product by 3% through methods such as reduced energy consumption, remanufacturing and recycling. For 2015, lifecycle carbon emission per product were around a third of those 2008.

Path to Paris

Earlier this week edie spoke to CDP’s chief executive Paul Simpson, who revealed that despite “significant progress” the private sector was unlikely to reduce emissions in line with the Paris Agreement.

The Out of the Starting Blocks report revealed that while 85% of the 1,089 businesses that disclosed data to CDP have emissions reduction targets in place, these targets would only take the companies a quarter of the way to being operationally in line with the crucial 2C threshold.

Matt Mace


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