Largest 500 global companies decouple growth, GHG emissions - Smart Energy Decisions

Commercial, GHG Emissions, Industrial  -  July 11, 2016

Largest 500 global companies make strides toward GHG reductions; others lag behind

A recent report from Thomson Reuters has found that the largest 500 companies in the world have decoupled their growth from their greenhouse gas emissions. 

Written in collaboration with BSD Consulting, a global sustainability consultancy, the  report examines the growth and greenhouse gas emissions, or GHG, from Reuters calls the "Global 500" from 2010 to 2015. The 500 companies represented about 28% of the world's gross domestic product and emitted 10% of the world's GHG over the past five years.

The report found, for the first time since Thomson Reuters has been collecting this data, a decoupling between economic performance and emissions output: Revenues for the Global 500 grew about 5% over a four-year period, while emissions increased by 1%,  which the report's authors called a step forward to sustainable business growth.

"Our latest report indicates that we are seeing a positive trend across the Global 500 to limit their GHG emissions consistent with recommendations from the international scientific community. Following COP21 last year, sustainable business growth has become a top priority and focal point for many organizations. Limiting environmental impact is no longer just about doing the 'right' thing," Tim Nixon, managing editor of sustainability at Thomson Reuters and co-author for the report said in a news release. "Organizations recognize sustainable business growth is central to mitigating risk and driving top and bottom line performance.”

Data was gathered from self-reported GHG emissions data from businesses and from estimates pulled from Thomson Reuters ESG research data, which gathers standardized, objective, quantitative and qualitative ESG data from an estimated 5,000 publicly listed companies.

"We did find promising the trend on lower emissions growth versus revenue growth for the Global 500 as a whole, however many of the largest emitters have yet to show this kind of decoupling," John Moorhead, Head of the Climate Change Practice at BSD, said. "Although the gap with a 2 degree pathway for the Global 500 has decreased to 6.6% of total emissions the gap still remains significant. Carbon pricing, innovation (in technology and business models) and responsible investment are the keys to closing this gap."

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