New York, September 25, 2019 – EcoAct has today published its climate change business leaderboard for the USA, ranking DOW 30 companies on climate-related sustainability reporting and announcing the top 10 for outstanding efforts. However, overall the report makes for sobering reading with a clear message that US businesses are not going far enough in implementing critical steps to limit carbon emissions.
With the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) reporting less than a 12-year window to limit global warming to 1.5°C and New York State’s Climate, Leadership and Protection Act aiming for net zero greenhouse gas emissions by 2050, it is critical that the commercial sector urgently transforms their operations. EcoAct’s report discloses that while 77% of the DOW 30 companies have some sort of emissions reduction target, 90% currently do not have a sufficient emissions reduction strategy in place to limit global warming to safe levels. The report also reveals that only 7% of DOW 30 companies have attained carbon neutrality, with only a further 10% making the commitment to do so, highlighting the enormous performance gap needed to be filled in a short space of time.
Undertaking the same sustainability research across the CAC 40, IBEX 35 and the FTSE 100, EcoAct’s report suggests that the USA is lagging behind some other economies – for example in progress towards net zero and strategies to mitigate identified climate risk to business.
Having said this, the DOW 30 has shown stronger performance in relation to the use and generation of renewable energy with 97% of companies in the DOW 30 using renewable energy to power at least some of their operations, leading the other indices in the research.
Looking at the sectors and specific DOW 30 companies that made the top 10, it was evident that companies representing the IT and Telecommunities sector dominated the higher rankings taking the top three spots. Apple also took 7th and IBM was 9th. The report recognises the specific achievements by Microsoft and others in the sector in climate-related sustainability reporting.
Also of note in the report was the high performance of FMCG and retailers. Unilever scored the highest across the international research, with The Coca Cola Company and Proctor & Gamble taking 4th and 5th spots respectively in the DOW 30 leaderboard.
The number of consumer-focused companies in the top 20 indicates a growing realisation by these industry sectors of increased climate awareness among the general public and the mounting demand for action. Pressure from the investor community is increasingly a driver for companies to act in order to safeguard future interests from the long-term impacts of climate change.
In addressing an area that has been the focus of recent press attention, EcoAct’s report also shows that the number of DOW companies purchasing carbon offsets has remained unchanged since last year – at 20% of companies – despite almost doubling among the FTSE 100 companies. As 73% of DOW 30 companies do not even mention net zero within their sustainability reports and strategies, this suggests that less DOW 30 companies are looking for mechanisms to support net zero strategies than in some other economies.
“We are really pleased to release our second annual report during Climate Week in New York”, said William Thiesen, CEO of EcoAct North America. “Concern about climate change is now at an all time high particularly as we are already feeling its impacts. Momentum is building but it is clear that companies urgently need to step up action to reduce their emissions and contribute to our urgent goal of net zero by 2050.”
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