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International Corporations are turning to Low-Carbon World but Many Risk Being Left Behind

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Business by Thomas Angermann via flickr

According to a new analysis by CDP, global businesses have begun to benefit from the opportunities that transitioning to a low carbon economy presents, but many risk being left behind due to lack of long-term planning and inertia.

Key Report Highlights:

• New baseline-setting report for corporate climate action will track progress against Paris climate goals in future editions, and finds companies already gaining competitive advantage from reducing their emissions;
• Business is gearing up to go low-carbon with 85% of companies already having emissions reduction targets in place;
• But these targets are lacking long-term vision and only take companies one quarter of the way to being in line with keeping global warming below critical 2˚C threshold;
• This year’s Climate A-Listers are revealed including Apple, Sky plc and Toshiba.

CDP’s report, Out of the starting blocks: Tracking progress on corporate climate action, produced in partnership with We Mean Business, presents carbon emissions and climate change mitigation data from 1,089 companies, disclosed to CDP at the request of 827 institutional investors with assets of US$100 trillion. These companies – which represent some of the world’s most significant in terms of market capitalization and environmental impact – account for 12% of total global greenhouse gas emissions.

With entry into force of the Paris Agreement on climate change confirming the shift to a low-carbon economy, CDP will show how business action is stacking up against the world’s new climate goals by tracking this group of companies in subsequent annual reports.

This year’s report, which sets the baseline, shows that the low-carbon transition can bring high returns. Over a five-year period, 62 companies have succeeded in cutting their emissions by 10% or more while increasing their revenue by the same margin. Collectively, revenue has increased by 29% and emissions reduced by 26% amongst this group, while the rest of the companies in the sample saw a 6% decrease in revenue alongside a 6% rise in emissions.

This group includes:

• Host Hotels & Resorts Inc. The US real estate company saw revenue growth of 22% over five years alongside a 23% drop in emissions, with overall emissions intensity falling by 37%. The company has a science based target in place to reduce its scope 1 and 2 emissions on an emissions per square foot basis 28% by 2020 from a 2008 base-year;
• SCA: The Swedish consumer goods company and pulp and paper manufacturer reduced its emissions by 32% while increasing revenue by 19%, achieving a 42% drop in emissions intensity. The company is reducing annual costs by €5 million thanks to a new biofuel-powered kiln at one of its mills;
• Wipro: The Indian IT company saw growth of 15% over a five-year period alongside a 24% drop in emissions, with overall emissions intensity falling by 33%. The company has introduced new virtualization technologies across its servers, resulting in huge annual energy savings.

Companies are one of the key actors in enabling the global economy to achieve its climate goals and the report reveals that 85% of businesses already have at least one target in place to reduce their greenhouse gas emissions. However, these targets are lacking in long-term ambition, with just 14% of companies having set goals for 2030 or beyond. Moreover, just a small proportion of companies in the sample (9%) have committed to aligning their targets with the latest climate science for a 2˚C pathway.

Achieving their current targets would take the companies in the sample one quarter of the way to the level that their emissions should drop to in order to be consistent with keeping global warming below 2 degrees.

CDP’s chief executive officer Paul Simpson says: “This baseline-setting report uses data related to companies’ activities pre-Paris Agreement; it shows that while many are already on the right path, there is still a large gap to close. With hundreds of companies already disclosing to CDP that they anticipate substantive changes to their business resulting from the Paris deal, we expect to see a shift to longer-term, more science-based targets in future years.”

“As investors look to reduce risk by shifting investments to less carbon intensive infrastructure, the spotlight will shine more intensely on corporate actions. There is still all to play for in the race to seize the opportunities from this transition.”

We Mean Business’ chief executive officer Nigel Topping said: “We Mean Business is delighted to partner with CDP on this report that sets the baseline for corporate action to combat climate change. We know that global business is instrumental in creating a below 2˚C world; this report shows that some companies are already reaping the business benefits of early action on climate.

“Future editions of this report will be the tool for the We Mean Business coalition to track how companies are capitalizing on the low-carbon transition, and bringing the global economy ever closer to its climate goals.”

Some of the largest companies in the world by market capitalization are notably absent from the analysis, having declined to respond to CDP’s investor-backed disclosure request. CDP will track a group of over 700 non-disclosing companies to monitor if they begin to engage with the process in future years and help investors assess their exposure to unrevealed risk. The three biggest companies by market capitalization that failed to disclose this year are Berkshire Hathaway, Facebook and Amazon.

With the Financial Stability Board’s Taskforce on Climate-related Financial Disclosures (TCFD) due to publish its recommendations for consultation later this year, pressure on companies to disclose how climate change is likely to impact their business is expected to grow.

Alongside the report today, CDP launches its 2016 Climate A List which comprises those companies identified as A grade for their actions in the 2015 reporting year to mitigate climate change. Following an independent assessment against CDP’s scoring methodology, 193 companies have made the list, which features brands from around the world such as Colgate Palmolive Company, Sony and Wipro.

The CDP Out of the starting blocks report and the 2016 Climate A-List are available on the CDP website, which also includes climate change rankings for thousands of companies that publicly disclose through CDP.

 

Economy

A Good Look At How Homes Will Become More Energy Efficient Soon

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energy efficient homes

Everyone always talks about ways they can save energy at home, but the tactics are old school. They’re only tweaking the way they do things at the moment. Sealing holes in your home isn’t exactly the next scientific breakthrough we’ve been waiting for.

There is some good news because technology is progressing quickly. Some tactics might not be brand new, but they’re becoming more popular. Here are a few things you should expect to see in homes all around the country within a few years.

1. The Rise Of Smart Windows

When you look at a window right now it’s just a pane of glass. In the future they’ll be controlled by microprocessors and sensors. They’ll change depending on the specific weather conditions directly outside.

If the sun disappears the shade will automatically adjust to let in more light. The exact opposite will happen when it’s sunny. These energy efficient windows will save everyone a huge amount of money.

2. A Better Way To Cool Roofs

If you wanted to cool a roof down today you would coat it with a material full of specialized pigments. This would allow roofs to deflect the sun and they’d absorb less heat in the process too.

Soon we’ll see the same thing being done, but it will be four times more effective. Roofs will never get too hot again. Anyone with a large roof is going to see a sharp decrease in their energy bills.

3. Low-E Windows Taking Over

It’s a mystery why these aren’t already extremely popular, but things are starting to change. Read low-E window replacement reviews and you’ll see everyone loves them because they’re extremely effective.

They’ll keep heat outside in summer or inside in winter. People don’t even have to buy new windows to enjoy the technology. All they’ll need is a low-E film to place over their current ones.

4. Magnets Will Cool Fridges

Refrigerators haven’t changed much in a very long time. They’re still using a vapor compression process that wastes energy while harming the environment. It won’t be long until they’ll be cooled using magnets instead.

The magnetocaloric effect is going to revolutionize cold food storage. The fluid these fridges are going to use will be water-based, which means the environment can rest easy and energy bills will drop.

5. Improving Our Current LEDs

Everyone who spent a lot of money on energy must have been very happy when LEDs became mainstream. Incandescent light bulbs belong in museums today because the new tech cut costs by up to 85 percent.

That doesn’t mean someone isn’t always trying to improve on an already great invention. The amount of lumens LEDs produce per watt isn’t great, but we’ve already found a way to increase it by 25 percent.

Maybe Homes Will Look Different Too

Do you think we’ll come up with new styles of homes that will take off? Surely it’s not out of the question. Everything inside homes seems to be changing for the better with each passing year. It’s going to continue doing so thanks to amazing inventors.

ShutterStock – Stock photo ID: 613912244

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Economy

IEMA Urge Government’s Industrial Strategy Skills Overhaul To Adopt A “Long View Approach”

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IEMA, in response to the launch of the Government’s Industrial Strategy Green Paper, have welcomed the focus on technical skills and education to boost “competence and capability” of tomorrow’s workforce.

Policy experts at the world’s leading professional association of Environment and Sustainability professionals has today welcomed Prime Minister Teresa May’s confirmation that an overhaul of technical education and skills will form a central part of the Plan for Britain – but warns the strategy must be one for the long term.

Martin Baxter, Chief Policy Advisor at IEMA said this morning that the approach and predicted investment in building a stronger technical skills portfolio to boost the UK’s productivity and economic resilience is positive, and presents an opportunity to drive the UK’s skills profile and commitment to sustainability outside of the EU.

Commenting on the launch of the Government’s Industrial Strategy Green Paper, Baxter said today:

“Government must use the Industrial Strategy as an opportunity to accelerate the UK’s transition to a low-carbon, resource efficient economy – one that is flexible and agile and which gives a progressive outlook for the UK’s future outside the EU.

We welcome the focus on skills and education, as it is vital that tomorrow’s workforce has the competence and capability to innovate and compete globally in high-value manufacturing and leading technology.

There is a real opportunity with the Industrial Strategy, and forthcoming 25 year Environment Plan and Carbon Emissions Reduction Plan, to set long-term economic and environmental outcomes which set the conditions to unlock investment, enhance natural capital and provide employment and export opportunities for UK business.

We will ensure that the Environment and Sustainability profession makes a positive contribution in responding to the Green Paper.”

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