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Companies commit to reducing Greenhouse Gas emissions

As the countries taking part in the UN Climate Change Summit, COP 21 in Paris, struggled to reach agreement  114 major companies including Coca-Cola, Dell, Kellogg, Procter & Gamble and Sony pledged to set emissions reduction targets in line with what scientists say is necessary to keep global warming below the dangerous threshold of 2 degrees Celsius using criteria approved by the Science Based Targets initiative.

This initiative was set up in May by CDP, the carbon reporting organisation; UN Global Compact; World Resources Institute (WRI); and WWF.  Since then it has more than succeeded in its target of recruiting 100 companies by the end of 2015 to set greenhouse gas (GHG) emission reduction targets in line with climate science. The 114 companies represent at least $932 billion in total combined profits (2014). Almost a quarter of the companies who have signed up are from the US, with the UK, France, and Canada being the next most common home locations. Ten companies have already developed their science-based targets.

Coca-Cola is committed to reducing absolute greenhouse gas (CHG)  emissions from their core business operations 50% by 2020, using a 2007 base-year. Coca-Cola Enterprises also commits to reduce the GHG emissions from their drinks 33% by 2020, using a 2007 base-year. Sony is committed to reducing GHG emissions from its operations by 42% below fiscal year 2000 levels by fiscal year 2020. Also, the company has a long-term vision of reducing its environmental footprint to zero by 2050, requiring a 90% reduction in emissions over 2008 levels by 2050 (scopes 1, 2, and 3).

John Bryant, chairman and chief executive of Kellogg Company said, “I am pleased to announce that Kellogg is setting a new target for the reduction of greenhouse gas emissions. We plan to cut GHG emissions by 65 percent across our operations, known as Scope 1 and 2, and, for the first time work with suppliers, known as Scope 3, to help reduce their emissions by 50 percent by 2050.  We recognize the interconnected and inter-reliant nature of our business with suppliers, farmers, customers, consumers and governments. These types of commitments require cooperation across the full supply chain. That is the only way we can truly be successful.”

WRI has also released its CAIT Climate Data Explorer Business platform, an interactive database of corporate emissions and emissions reduction targets. Company data is provided by CDP,  and the Science Based Targets initiative.

Meanwhile the PRI (Principles for Responsible Investment) initiative also took part in the COP21 climate talks emphasising to participants the role that investors, and the private finance that they represent, can play in transitioning to a low-carbon and climate-resilient economy. At the official Private Finance Focus, attended by French government ministers, PRI Chair Martin Skancke announced that the Montréal Carbon Pledge – which commits investors to measure and publicly disclose the carbon footprint of their investment portfolios on an annual basis – has been signed by 120 investors representing US$10 trillion of assets, and launched a pilot framework for Developing an asset owner climate change strategy.

Additionally, thinktank Carbon Tracker launched a new set of Recommended Strategic Risk Engagement Principles for Fossil Fuel Companies aimed at helping investors engaging with energy companies by obtaining management’s views on the market risks and acquiring measurable data that, in turn, can be interpreted by analysts, asset managers and other investor intermediaries.


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