Majority of Big Businesses Taking Action on Climate Change

Two new reports suggest more large companies are paying attention to sustainable resource management, often to pursue cost savings and appease investor interests.

The first series of data, released by the Carbon Disclosure Project (CDP) and PwC, analyzes the carbon disclosure strategies of the world’s largest global and US companies (there are two separate rankings).

Generally speaking, both reports suggests that more businesses are taking action in the absence of government leadership to disclose risks related to climate change along with strategies related for addressing greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions, water conservation and waste management, among other things.

For example, 78% of the 405 companies considered on the CDP Global 500 list have integrated climate change considerations into their business strategy, says CDP. Together, these companies reported a 13.8% reduction in reported corporate GHG emissions to 3.1 billion tons in 2012.

On the flip slide, 31% of the companies reported no emissions reductions.

And the list of holdouts – those who have refused to share information with CDP – still includes the likes of Amazon.com, Apple, Berkshire Hathaway, Royal Bank of Canada, Caterpillar Inc., Comcast Corporation, America Movil, Lukoil, Bank of China and National Oilwell Varco. 

"The best interest of investors are catalyzing US companies to improve the management of environmental risk, which is vital if we are to forge a more sustainable economy," says Paul Dickinson, chairman of CDP. "This report shows us that the powerful American corporation is responding to a growing market demand and increasingly understands that transparency and action on climate change is a business imperative. Failure to act could result in a competitive disadvantage."

Who does a good job, at least when it comes to disclosure and carbon dioxide management? 

The top five global companies on CDP’s global list are German pharmaceuticals company Bayer, Swiss consumer goods giant Nestle, German chemicals company BASF, Germany automobile maker BMW, and Spanish utility company Gas Natural SDG.

The top five on the US list are Pepco Holdings, NYSE Euronext, Wells Fargo, Ace and Eaton.

For the complete CDP report.

Cost Management Inspires Solar Installations

An interest in saving money and improving profit margins is the key motivation behind commercial solar installations across the US, report the Solar Energy Industries Association (SEIA) and the Vote Solar Initiative.

The top 20 companies making on-site solar investments have so far deployed more than 700 individual projects in 25 states and Puerto Rico, generating an estimated $47.3 million in electricity annually, they say.

"These companies know that solar energy allows them to reliably manage their long-term energy costs and in turn also helps keep their customer prices low," says Rhone Resch, president and CEO of SEIA. "Solar helps these top American companies focus on their core business by reducing overhead costs."

Walmart and Costco alone have more solar PV installed on store rooftops than the entire solar capacity in the state of Florida, says the report.

Here are the top 20 companies for US commercial solar installations:

  • Walmart
  • Costco
  • Kohl’s Department Stores
  • IKEA
  • Macy’s
  • McGraw-Hill
  • Johnson&Johnson
  • Staples
  • Campbell’s Soup
  • Walgreens
  • Bed, Bath & Beyond
  • Toys ‘R’ Us
  • General Motors
  • FedE
  • White Rose Foods
  • Dow Jones
  • Snyder’s of Hanover
  • ProLogis
  • Hartz Mountain Industries
  • Crayola

For the complete report:

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