Many large corporations are taking steps to reduce carbon emissions

A new report from US-based CERES, formerly the Coalition for Environmentally Responsible Economies, points out that the lead in clean and green energy is now being taken more by large corporations than by governments. The report states that:

  • 43 percent, or 215 of the companies in the Fortune 500 have set targets in one of three categories: (1) greenhouse gas (GHG) reduction commitments, (2) energy efficiency, and (3) renewable energy.
  • Nearly half of the largest companies in the U.S. are capturing significant business value by cutting emissions and using clean forms of energy to power their operations.
  • The largest companies in the Fortune 500 – the Fortune 100 – continue to lead: 60 percent of Fortune 100 companies have set clean energy and GHG reduction targets as of 2013.
  • Among the 53 Fortune 100 companies reporting on climate and energy targets to CDP (formerly the Carbon Disclosure Project), they are conservatively saving $1.1 billion annually through their emission reduction and renewable energy initiatives.
  • In 2012 alone, these companies decreased their annual emissions by approximately 58.3 million metric tons of CO2 equivalent – comparable to retiring about 15 coal plants – saving them an average of $19 per metric ton of carbon dioxide equivalent emissions.

The report concludes with recommendations to companies, investors, the electric sector, and policymakers. Among the recommendations to companies:

  • Set time-bound renewable energy, energy efficiency, or greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions reduction commitments.
  • Include specific renewable energy or energy efficiency targets, or at a minimum ensure that both are part of any GHG reduction strategy. Many companies are realizing strong ROIs by achieving these targets.
  • Be fully transparent in reporting their GHG commitments and the role that renewable energy should play in meeting them, using emerging global standards for Scope 2 carbon accounting. To measure progress, companies should publicly disclose the amount of renewable energy they purchase annually compared to their total energy consumption.
  • Identify opportunities to support local, state, and national policies that remove barriers to scale up renewable energy, deploy energy efficiency, and  enable companies to achieve their climate commitments. All companies should be engaged in policy advocacy because it helps increase availability of renewable energy and lower prices, while bringing corporate commitments and public policy positions in line with one another.

Many more interesting facts and much more detail is available in the 24 page report available through a link at http://www.ceres.org/resources/reports/power-forward-2.0-how-american-companies-are-setting-clean-energy-targets-and-capturing-greater-business-value/view (registration required).

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