New research from the Environmental Investment Organisation (EIO), a climate change and finance think tank, shows that the level of public disclosure of greenhouse gas emissions among the world's largest 800 companies is unacceptably poor.
Only 37% of companies are reporting complete data and correctly adopting the basic principles of greenhouse gas emissions reporting. Only 21% had their data externally verified.
This is the last in a series of Rankings and Reports launched this week by the EIO and examines the greenhouse gas emissions and transparency of the 800 largest companies globally.
The German chemical company BASF came top of the ranking, having disclosed all 15 scope 3 categories, according to the GHG Protocol Scope 3 Reporting Standard, with a combined scope 1, 2 and 3 emissions intensity of 932.74 tonnes of CO2e/$1m of turnover.
Scope 3 (value chain) emissions include greenhouse gas emissions from sources not owned or directly controlled by the company but over which it has influence. It includes categories such as business travel, transportation and distribution, and investments.
US-based First Energy came last on the Global 800 listing, with no public data and an inferred combined scope 1, 2 and 3 emissions intensity of 10,342.03 tonnes of CO2e/$1m of turnover. No company in the North America 300 Ranking fully reports emissions across its entire value chain.
Overall, Europe leads the world on all disclosure metrics with 35% of companies reporting complete and independently verified data. Italy and Spain ranked joint highest in terms of disclosure and verification, with 62% of companies reporting complete data and a further 54% having their data verified.
Canada ranked 12th on the Global Listing with 36% of companies reporting complete data and 15% reporting complete and verified data. The United States ranked 13th on the list with 32% of companies reporting complete data and 11% reporting complete and independently verified data.
The Environmental Tracking Carbon Ranking series is the only public database of its kind and includes companies based on their market size, irrespective of their green credentials.
'As the world shifts towards a low carbon model it's extremely important that we have access to a reliable, consistent and cross-comparable greenhouse gas emissions database on the world's largest companies,' explains Sam Gill, CEO at the Environmental Investment Organisation.
Gill adds, 'This ought to be a wakeup call for companies. Since the majority of total corporate emissions often come from Scope 3 sources, large quantities of emissions are not being accounted for. Not only could this be a source of unmeasured risk for companies but it also means we are not getting the full picture in terms of corporate emissions. This is precisely why the Carbon Rankings are designed to encourage Scope 3 disclosure.'
The Rankings make up the first phase of the Environmental Tracking mechanism, with phase two seeing them developed into a series of investable indexes within which companies are weighted according to their position in the public Carbon Ranking. The EIO hopes to make its Environmental Tracking Index Series available to investors later in the year.
'If enough people start to invest through Environmental Tracking indexes, the collective force of indexed money moving in unison could alter demand for company shares. Since the weightings of companies within the index are linked to the company's position in the Carbon Rankings, the share price will begin to move in line with emissions. For the first time, pursuing an environmentally damaging course of action would be against the interests of the company and its shareholders,' concludes Gill.
For full details please refer to the ET Global 800 Ranking report.