Ceres Ranks 100 Global Companies on Climate Change Strategies

Ceres has released their first ranking of 100 global companies' climate change strategies, and BP and DuPont are at the top. Companies in ten industry sectors were judged: oil/gas (BP was the leader, with 90 points out of 100 and the top score in the report), chemical (DuPont, with 85 points, was the leader and top-rated US company), metals/mining, electric power, auto, industrial equipment, coal, food products, forest products and air transportation sectors. Using a "Climate Governance Checklist," the report evaluated how major industrial corporations are addressing climate change in five broad areas: board oversight, management performance, public disclosure, greenhouse gas emissions accounting and strategic planning. The report took nine months to complete and uses data from securities filings, company reports, company websites, third-party questionnaires and direct company communications.The scoring system gave most credit to companies with a sustained commitment to controlling greenhouse gas emissions, disclosing data and strategies, supporting regulatory actions, and taking practical, near-term steps to find lasting solutions to climate change. Here is a sampling of five of the industries:

SectorLeadersLaggards
Oil/GasBP (90 points*)ExxonMobil (35)
ChemicalDuPont (85**) PPG (21)
Metals/Mining Alcan (77) & Alcoa (74)Newmont (24)
Electric PowerAEP & Cinergy (both 73)Sempra Energy (24)
AutoToyota (65)Nissan (33)

* Top score among the 100 companies
**Top score among 76 U.S. companies

Companies outside the US such as BP, Toyota, Alcan, Unilever and Rio Tinto had the highest scores in five of the nine sectors that included both US and non-US firms. American companies -- DuPont, General Electric, International Paper and United Parcel Service -- led in the other four sectors. (In the electric power sector, only American companies were analyzed.)

As with many things relating to climate change, analysis of the report shows a little good news and little bad news. Good news: this report shows that leading companies in many key industries are now tackling the issue at the highest level, with boards conducting strategic assessments and management setting performance goals for reducing greenhouse gas emissions and developing new climate-friendly products. While that may sound like a bunch of corporate mumbo-jumbo, that's how it's going to start with these large companies. When it comes to actual results, DuPont, the leading scorer among US firms, has reduced its greenhouse gas emissions 72 percent since 1990 and developed forward-thinking commercial products such as energy-efficient building materials, components for solar, wind and fuel cell systems and next-generation refrigerants with low global warming potential.

Bad news: dozens of businesses in various climate vulnerable sectors like leading electric power and oil companies are still largely dismissing the issue or failing to articulate clear strategies to meet the challenge. Low climate governance scores also were prevalent among entire sectors, including: coal companies, which are especially vulnerable to greenhouse gas regulations; food and forest product companies, which are vulnerable to natural resource impacts from climate change; and airlines, one of the fastest growing sources of CO2 emissions.

Corporations can move like turtles when it comes to enacting big change because of their sheer size, but they also have tremendous potential to have a huge effect on the way our world works. By judging them with reports like these, encouraging more transparent corporate reporting and encouraging investors and consumers to vote with their dollars, we hope they continue to progress in the right direction. ::2006 Corporate Governance and Climate Change: Making the Connection via ::CSRwire

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