A new report by CDP, formerly the Carbon Disclosure Project, shows that a growing number of companies are stepping up their response to climate change by embedding low-carbon goals into their long-term business plans, with many companies intending to ramp up ambition over the next couple of years.
Launched just days ahead of the upcoming climate change conference in Bonn (COP23, 6-17 November), the report puts the spotlight on the role of the private sector in achieving national climate action goals under the Paris Climate Change Agreement.
In a foreword to the study, CDP CEO Paul Simpson says the corporate world is at a tipping point in the low-carbon transition. “The transition to a low-carbon economy will create winners and losers within and across sectors. As new businesses and technologies emerge and scale up, billions of dollars of value are waiting to be unlocked, even as many more are at risk,” he says.
The report finds that the number of companies that have committed to set emissions reduction targets in line with or well below a two-degrees Celsius goal, agreed by nations in Paris in 2015, has increased from 94 to 151 in just one year. An additional 317 companies plan to commit to a science-based target in the next two years.
From the 1,073 companies that responded to the survey, 89% of respondents, up from 86% last year, have set emissions reductions targets in 2017. More than two thirds (68%) of those are setting targets to at least 2020, and 20% are mapping out sustainability actions to 2030 and beyond.
This shows an increase compared to 2016 when 85% of respondents reported setting targets, but only 55% extended these to 2020 or beyond – and even fewer (14%) went to 2030.
However, the report also reveals that the majority of responding companies have yet to commit to emission reduction targets that are stringent enough to fully align with what climate science says is required.
This year’s analysis is based on the climate data disclosed by over 1,000 of the world’s largest, highest-emitting companies that represent 12% of global direct carbon emissions.
CDP selected and reached out to over 1,800 companies for this study, with 1,073 companies responding.