The world's largest annual tracker of how the largest, most environmentally-impactful companies are responding to climate change is published today by CDP (the non-profit global environmental disclosure platform). Picking up the pace, the second edition in the annual Tracking corporate action on climate change series, finds that more leading companies are embedding low-carbon goals into their long-term future business plans, and that they are increasingly aligning themselves with the carbon emission reductions scientists say are needed to prevent dangerous climate change.
Fourteen per cent of a sample of 1,073 responding companies have future-proofed their growth by committing to or having targets approved under the Science Based Targets initiative. These are emissions reduction targets in line with the level of decarbonization required to keep global temperature increase below 2 degrees Celsius, the central aim of the Paris Agreement on climate change signed by nearly 200 nations. An additional 317 companies (30% of the sample) aim to set science-based targets within two years. Existing targets take the sample almost one third (31%) of the way to being consistent with keeping global warming below 2 degrees, a notable improvement since last year (25%), reflecting the rise in science-based target-setting.
Key findings from today's analysis include:
Paul Simpson, CEO of CDP, says: "Two years ago, the Paris Agreement fired the gun in the race to a low-carbon economy. This year, the recommendations from the Task Force on Climate-Related Financial Disclosures accelerated the pace. We can already see corporate winners and losers emerging. Best practice, from the scaling of solar power to the construction of zero-energy buildings, with innovation in processes, products and philosophies is emerging; and is increasingly led from the boardroom.
In a separate analysis, CDP ranked 160 companies (out of a total of over 3,300) as A-grade for their approaches to climate change, water and deforestation, working with scoring partners ADEC, CDP's Global Climate Change Scoring Partner, and South Pole Group, their partner for Water and Forests scoring, to assess companies' performance. For the first time these three rankings are released simultaneously, reflecting the holistic nature of the environmental challenges facing business today. Unilever and L'Oréal lead the way with A's across all three areas.