Tuesday, April 24, 2018

Which U.S. Industries Are Setting the Strongest Climate Goals?

An analysis of more than 600 top U.S. companies finds that those seeing the effects of global warming first-hand are taking the most concrete actions.

The food and beverage industry, where the supply chain is already feeling the effects of climate change on crops and water supplies, has the largest percentage of big companies setting greenhouse gas emissions goals with deadlines. (Credit: Ronaldo Schemidt/AFP/Getty Images) Click to Enlarge.
The country's largest companies are increasingly acknowledging the risks they face from climate change and water and resource scarcity, and more are promising to cut greenhouse gas emissions.  But relatively few are making time-bound commitments based on science to tackle climate-related challenges, according to a new sector-by-sector analysis.

The Boston-based sustainability advocacy group Ceres released a detailed analysis Tuesday of the performance of more than 600 of the largest publicly traded companies in the U.S. across a spectrum of industries, from agriculture to finance.

It found that 64 percent of the companies have pledged to reduce greenhouse gas emissions, but only 36 percent have set deadlines for action.  Only about 9 percent have set science-based targets in line with the Paris climate agreement goal of keeping global warming under 2 degrees Celsius, according to Ceres.

About one-third have made commitments to transition to renewable energy.

"What we need to see across sectors is a significant increase in the level of ambition," said Kristen Lang, who leads Ceres' assessment of the companies.

In some industries—particularly those most directly affected by climate change—companies are taking more concrete actions.

Food Companies See Risks in the Supply Chain 
In the food and beverage industry, for example, 86 percent of the companies studied have set specific timeframes to reduce greenhouse gas emissions.  General Mills, the report notes, set a science-based goal to reduce greenhouse gas emissions 28 percent by 2025 across its value chain, "from farm to landfill."  The cereal maker also has a goal to bring its emissions in line with the scientific consensus, but with a deadline well in the future: 2050.

Several others in the industry, including PepsiCo, which has a growing electric vehicle fleet, are making commitments to reduce emissions from transportation.  And 95 percent of the companies studied include climate-related risk in annual disclosures, compared to 50 percent of companies more broadly.

Read more at Which U.S. Industries Are Setting the Strongest Climate Goals?

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