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Record number of firms report to Carbon Disclosure Project

CO2 BubblesMore companies than ever before disclosed a wealth of information about their greenhouse gas emissions for this year’s Carbon Disclosure Project (CDP) Global 500 Report, released today in New York.

Of 30 countries represented in the report, five — France, Germany, Japan, US and the UK — accounted for both 70 per cent of respondents in the report, which was produced by PricewaterhouseCoopers. In addition, the number of responses from the BRIC countries (Brazil, Russia, India, China) was twice as many as last year.

Among the global corporations that stood out in this year’s report for their efforts to tackle climate change were Allianz, Consolidated Edison, EMC, Reckitt Benckiser, Siemens, BASF, Boeing and Cisco Systems.

The Carbon Disclosure Project also launched its new performance scoring pilot methodology at this year’s Global launch, one of the first events of New York Climate Week. The performance scores measure corporations’ actual performance in responding to and reducing their contribution to climate change and is intended to complement the Carbon Disclosure Leadership Index (CDLI).

The CDLI rates firms according to the level and quality of their disclosure and reporting on greenhouse gas emissions and climate change strategy data. The companies topping the table on carbon disclosure (CDLI ratings) in 2009 are: Bayer, BASF, HSBC Holdings, Walmart and Chevron. In 2010, CDP plans to formally incorporate the performance pilot into its analysis and perform a deeper level analysis of the performance actions disclosed by their participants.

“Incorporating performance into CDP 2009 has been a positive step: it has provided distinction between observing and rewarding good reporting versus positive action,” said Paul Dickinson, CEO of The Carbon Disclosure Project. “It will help show where risks are being managed and opportunities maximised, and provide investors with insight into how well companies are preparing to compete in a low-carbon environment.”

As the United Nations Climate Change Conference in Copenhagen approaches, the report revealed that companies covered by the EU Emissions Trading Scheme (EU ETS) tend to achieve higher scores on both disclosure and performance (20 per cent and 25 per cent higher, respectively) which may reflect the organisational rigour imposed by mandatory legislation.

The best performing companies all shared the following behaviours:

  • They are taking effective action to manage risks and capitalise on new opportunities;
  • They show carbon reduction activities that deliver results; and
  • They incorporate expected regulation into forward thinking and planning.

Other key findings from 2009 Global 500 Report:

  • 51 per cent of the Global 500 companies report emission reduction targets, up from 41 per cent in 2008;
  • Only 36 per cent of reported carbon reduction targets stretch beyond 2012: A global agreement in Copenhagen in December is needed to provide increased certainty for Global 500 companies looking to set medium and long-term emission reduction targets, according to respondents;
  • Five countries (France, Germany, Japan, US and the UK) accounted for both 70 per cent of respondents and 70 per cent of total emissions disclosed;
  • The response rate from Brazil, Russia, India and China (BRIC countries) has doubled since 2008 to 44 per cent, including a 100-per cent response rate from Brazil;
  • The number of Asian companies responding to CDP 2009 increased by 39 per cent (from 51 to 71) from last year;
  • The Global 500 are highly influential in global emissions reduction with total reported emissions alone equating to 11.5 per cent of global emissions; and
  • The Information Technology sector achieved the highest average performance score overall.

Founded in 2000, the Carbon Disclosure Project represents some 475 global institutional investors, with more than $55 trillion (US) in assets under management. The CDP collects key climate change data from some 2,500 major corporations around the globe and has assembled the largest corporate greenhouse gas emissions database in the world.

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