NEW YORK—The 2011 Carbon Disclosure Project (CDP) has found that while national and global policy remains uncertain, most large US companies recognize the opportunity to gain strategic advantage from acting to address climate change.
For the first time, CDP found that a majority of the S&P 500 disclosing companies now integrate climate change into core business strategy.
The report, which analyses disclosures from 339 US corporations by market capitalization, is written by PwC and is seen as a bellwether for greenhouse gas emissions reduction activity at corporate America.
CDP collects data from companies on behalf of 551 signatory investor institutions, which together manage $71 trillion in assets worldwide.
The report found an increase in respondents who have senior executive or board oversight of their company’s climate change programs from 68 per cent in 2010 to 87 per cent this year.
The number of companies reporting climate change policies as an integral part of corporate business strategy doubled, up from 35 per cent in 2010 to 65 per cent in 2011. Meanwhile, 64 per cent of respondents have set greenhouse gas emissions reduction targets, up from 51 per cent in 2010 and 32 per cent in 2008.
Contrary to conventional presumptions around long payback periods for emissions reduction and energy efficiency programs, respondents cite significant commercial benefits, with over 60 per cent of projects offering payback in three years or less.
The most common projects were improvements to energy efficiency in facilities, business processes and transportation networks, supported both by capital investments and changes in employee behavior. Of those companies, 54 per cent now offer financial incentives to staff for managing climate change issues, up from 35 per cent in 2010.