Tuesday 25th October 2016                 Change text size:

Global firms see benefits of clean energy and sustainability

Photo: Climate and Ecosystems Change Adaptation Research University Network via Flickr

Many of the world’s biggest companies are setting themselves ambitious emissions reduction and clean energy targets despite faltering policy in their respective countries, according to a report by Calvert Investments, Ceres and WWF.

The study, called Power Forward: Why the World’s Largest Companies are Investing in Renewable Energy, analyses publicly disclosed reports from companies in both the Fortune and Global 100 rankings, as well as taking data from interviews with a number of top executives.

It finds that 96 of the 173 firms that appear on the lists (some appear on both) have greenhouse gas reduction objectives in place. Meanwhile, 23 have renewable energy targets, which some are using to combat rising emissions.

The companies that are boldly setting either greenhouse gas or renewable energy goals and making progress on those commitments are demonstrating the business case and real leadership on climate change”, said Marty Spitzer, WWF’s director of US climate policy.

And, in the process, these companies are changing the game – driving significant renewable energy investment globally and pressing for the right policy and market conditions that will allow companies to do even more.”

The Fortune 100 ranks US companies by their gross revenue while the Global 100 is an independent rundown of the most sustainability-minded firms in the world.

Organisations such as General Motors, HP and Walmart are among those that have implemented ambitious renewable energy or emissions reduction targets.

The report found that the telecommunications and materials sectors in the Fortune 100 were the most forward-thinking in terms of sustainability objectives, with, respectively, 67% and 100% of firms analysed having both clean energy and greenhouse gas targets in place. Worryingly, though, 82% of energy firms displayed neither goal.

Meanwhile in the Global 100 ranking, 80% of utilities boasted targets for both areas.

The world’s largest companies are expanding their use of renewable energy because it makes good business sense – they see the value in diversifying their energy supply, mitigating fuel cost risk, cutting their energy-related emissions, and, in some cases, providing a physical asset with real value for the enterprise”, said Calvert’s Senior Vice President for Sustainability Research and Policy, Bennett Freeman.

We strongly encourage all companies to set renewable energy targets and disclose these commitments, which we believe will help companies—and those who invest in them—address clear risks and seize concrete opportunities.”

The report comes after a Carbon Disclosure Project study in September found that an increasing number of global boardrooms were incorporating the dangers of climate change into their business strategy.

Further reading:

Global boardrooms increasingly aware of climate change threat

FTSE 100 firms unprepared for climate change

CDP’s Global 500 report makes encouraging reading

UK needs to adapt to climate change risks

Water management behind climate change on boardroom agenda

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