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October 26, 2017updated 29 Apr 2022 5:01am

Companies speed towards embedding low carbon goals into long term business plans

By Stephanie Wix

Companies including the world’s largest multinationals are increasingly embedding low carbon goals into their long term business plans, according to a recent analysis from non-profit global environment disclosure platform CDP, formerly the Carbon Disclosure Project.

The research found that 89% of 1,073 environmentally-impactful companies now have carbon emissions targets, with 20% planning to have low-carbon targets up to 2030. It shows how climate change and climate change reporting is becoming an increasingly discussed topic that could impact the work of accounting professional.

The analysis found that 98% of companies now have board or senior level management responsible for climate change and 90% have financial incentives in place to achieve these targets. This shows that climate change is now a board level topic. The progress is 31% of the way to keeping global warming below two degrees, the main aim of the Paris Agreement since two years ago, this result has increased from 25% in 2016.

CDP CEO Paul Simpson explained that the Paris Agreement and this year’s Task Force on Climate-Related Financial Disclosures have accelerated the pace for a low carbon economy: “Best practice with innovation in processes, products and philosophies is emerging; and is increasingly led from the boardroom. The rest of the companies need to pick up the pace or risk losing out.”

The research also found that 14% have targets aligned with climate science, a 5% increase since last year from 94 to 151 companies. Also, an additional 30% (317 companies) plan to set science-based targets within two years. Thirty two percent of companies are now using internal carbon pricing, and a further 18% plan to implement this within two years.

The CDP has also released a 2017 Environmental A-list of 160 companies out of 3,300 that achieved the highest scores. There were 112 companies in the list for climate change, 73 companies for water and 6 companies for deforestation. The leading performers across all three areas were Unilever and L’Oréal, but no accounting firm network made it onto the lists.

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