Thursday, August 13, 2009

Climate change study finds mixed results

A new report concludes that just over half of the world's largest corporations have short-term policy targets related to climate change. However, one-third are failing to address the risks they face from climate change.

London-based EIRIS analyzed the 300 largest companies by market capitalization listed on the FTSE All World Index. More than 35% of the global 300 have a high climate change impact (such as those in the energy sector) and of those, 33% are failing to mitigate their climate change risk.

However, 99% of companies with a high climate change impact have a corporate-wide climate change commitment, up from 84% when EIRIS conducted the same study last year. "This improvement can be explained by a number of drivers coming into play including increasing pressure from investors," EIRIS says.

The study also found that nearly three-quarters of companies have policies referring to international greenhouse gas emission targets or regulations.

"Climate change has the potential to seriously impact shareholder value, especially in the medium- to long-term," EIRIS says. "As the significant physical and economic impacts of climate change increase, investors need to develop a greater understanding of the extent and impact of corporate response to the issue."

In December, Copenhagen will host an international meeting aimed at negotiating a post-Kyoto deal on climate change. If successful, the deal will lock the world into emissions reductions of around 80%, EIRIS notes.

Download the full EIRIS report.

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