The Report Report is a monthly wrap-up of recent research on sustainable business and clean technology, produced by Corporate Eco Forum, a by-invitation membership organization comprised of large, global companies that demonstrate a serious commitment at the senior executive level to sustainability as a business strategy issue.
2017 Energy Efficiency Indicator Survey (Johnson Controls) analyzes survey responses from more than 1,500 facility and management executives in the United States, Canada and 10 other countries to identify the key drivers of energy-related investments. Key findings include:
- 70 percent of organizations analyzed are paying more attention to energy efficiency, compared to last year.
- 58 percent of organizations expect an increase in their energy efficiency investments next year.
- Cost reduction is the most important driver for investments in energy efficiency globally, while GHG emissions reduction (92 percent) and energy security (91 percent) were the most significant drivers in the U.S. and Canada.
- Respondents invested mostly in heating, ventilation and air conditioning (HVAC) equipment improvements last year.
Catalyst for change (CDP) ranks 22 large global chemical companies, representing a quarter of all emissions of the sector, based on four climate-related metrics to determine their business readiness for a low carbon transition. The report gave the highest scores to AkzoNobel, DSM and Johnson Matthey.
Creating Markets for Climate Business (International Finance Corporation) finds that climate-related projects have attracted more than $1 trillion in investment globally, and identifies opportunities to unlock further private investment through policy reform and innovative financing structures to achieve the goals set out by the Paris Agreement. The report highlights specific investment opportunities across seven industry sectors, including renewable power generation, agriculture and public transport.
Emissions Gap Report 2017 (U.N. Environment) warns that current national pledges under the Paris Agreement will deliver only one-third of the emissions reductions needed by 2030 to avoid the worst long-term impacts of climate change. The report finds that the gap can be closed before 2030 by investing under $100/metric ton in already known and cost-effective technologies, including solar and wind energy, efficient appliances, efficient passenger cars, afforestation and eliminating deforestation.
Guide to Greener Electronics (Greenpeace) scores 17 tech companies based on their emissions reductions, resource consumption and elimination of hazardous chemicals. The report gave the highest scores to Fairphone and Apple.
KPMG Survey of Corporate Responsibility Reporting 2017 (KPMG) finds that around 75 percent of the 4,900 companies reviewed in the survey issue corporate responsibility reports. Other key findings include:
- 78 percent of companies reviewed integrate financial and non-financial data in their annual financial reports.
- 67 percent of the world’s 250 largest companies by revenue are investing in third-party assurance of their corporate responsibility reporting, representing a two-fold increase over the last 12 years.
- 72 percent of companies reviewed do not acknowledge climate change as a financial risk in their annual reports.
- 39 percent of companies reviewed are connecting their corporate responsibility activities to the SDGs.
Picking up the Pace (CDP) analyzes disclosures from more than 1,000 companies to assess the state of corporate action on climate change. Key findings include:
- 89 percent of respondents have emissions reductions targets; 68 percent have set emissions reductions targets to at least 2020, while 20 percent have longer-term targets to 2030 and beyond.
- Companies are closing the emissions gap, with current targets taking the sample 31 percent of the way to being consistent with keeping global warming below 2 degrees — a 6 percent improvement compared to 2016.
- 14 percent of companies have committed to the Science Based Targets initiative or already have targets approved by the initiative — an increase from 94 to 151 companies in the last year.
- 30 percent of companies anticipate setting a science-based target within two years.
- The number of companies with a renewable energy target has increased by 36 percent in the past year.
- 98 percent of companies have board- or senior management-level responsibility for climate change; 90 percent have financial incentives in place to attain corporate climate targets.
Putting a price on carbon: Integrating climate risk into business planning (CDP) finds that nearly 1,400 companies worldwide place an internal price on carbon or plan to do so in the future — a 11 percent increase compared to CDP’s 2016 disclosure data. Other key findings include:
- Nearly 500 companies disclosed to CDP that they are affected or expect to be affected by carbon pricing regulation and are potentially vulnerable to the effects of regulation through their failure to internalize the cost into their business.
- Only 15 percent of companies that use an internal carbon price to stress test their investments and operations disclose assumptions that the price level will increase over time, while the remaining 85 percent assumes a static price, or do not disclose their practice.
- Over the past year, the number of companies using an internal carbon price in China, Japan and South Korea has increased from 170 to 281.
Reporting Matters 2017 (World Business Council for Sustainable Development) examines the corporate sustainability reporting and disclosure practices of 157 WBCSD member companies, spanning more than 20 sectors and 35 countries. Key findings include:
- 74 percent of WBCSD member company reports reviewed have improved their overall score, compared to baseline year 2013.
- 44 percent of reports go beyond a traditional PDF report and include online content — up from 23 percent in 2014.
- 79 percent acknowledge the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) in some way.
- 34 percent combine financial and non-financial information — up from 23 percent in 2013; 22 percent specifically cite the International Integrated Reporting Framework.
- 85 percent cite the GRI Guidelines or the new GRI Standards; 18 percent already have transitioned to the new GRI Standards.
- 27 percent note that executive compensation is tied to sustainability metrics in some way, but only five companies provide specific percentages.
Sea of Distress (Greenpeace) ranks 15 large companies in the food service industry, based on their sustainable seafood purchasing, transparency and advocacy. The report gave the highest scores to Sodexo (first), Aramark (second) and Compass Group (third). However, the report highlights that the remaining 12 companies “failed this assessment and require ample work to match the top-3 ranked companies.”
Sustainable Value: Communicating ESG to the 21st Century Investor (Morgan Stanley) offers insight into best practices from first-mover companies that have enhanced their investor relations strategy to better communicate their ESG stories externally and provide analysts and investors with the information they seek. In addition, the report highlights what analysts and investors are looking for when requesting ESG information from companies: A sharp and candid focus on financially material issues, risks and opportunities; uniform metrics and reliable data within companies and across sectors that relate to business value and, crucially, enable a like-to-like comparison of performance on material issues; and alignment between quarterly and annual financial reporting and material ESG reporting to get a full, timely picture of company performance.
Turning Points: Trends in Countries’ Reaching Peak Greenhouse Gas Emissions Over Time (WRI) finds that 53 countries are expected to achieve peak emissions by 2020 and 57 by 2030 — up from 49 countries in 2010. However, the report finds that this is insufficient to meet the Paris Agreement’s temperature goals to limit warming to well below 2 degrees Celsius.
Warming Up: A Spotlight on Institutional Investors’ Voting Patterns on Key U.S. Climate Change Resolutions in 2017 (ShareAction) analyzes how the top 30 shareholders in seven carbon-intensive companies voted on shareholder resolutions addressing climate risk management during the 2017 U.S. proxy season. The analysis finds that Fidelity Management Research Co. and Goldman Sachs Asset Management made the most significant shift to supporting independent climate change resolutions in 2017, compared to 2016 data. The most consistent supporters of resolutions examined in 2017 included Northern Trust, Morgan Stanley, Deutsche Asset Management, LGIM, Norges, UBS and TIAA.