April 26, 2011

Less Than Half Of Europe’s Top Firms Report Emissions

Europe's 300 biggest companies, for the first time, have ranked according to their greenhouse gas emissions.

The widely accepted Greenhouse Gas Protocol was used by the Environmental Investment Organization (EIO) to rank these top European companies. Not only were these firms ranked on their Scope 1 and 2 emissions, but also on the levels of disclosure and verification provided by each company to the public.

EIO is an independent non-profit research group based in the U.K.

"The purpose of the Carbon Rankings is two-fold: to highlight the carbon emissions and levels of disclosure of the world's largest companies with the aim of fostering greater transparency and to form the basis of a series of stock market indexes, designed specifically to provide the investment community with a viable tool for tackling climate change," says Sam Gill, Operational Director of the EIO.

"Despite most companies producing corporate social responsibility reports there remains a remarkable lack of transparency and clarity in Greenhouse Gas emissions reporting"

"Through our series of Global, Regional and National ET Carbon Rankings, the public can access emissions data in an understandable format in one place, highlighting the leaders and laggards."

EIO hopes that as one company improves its levels of disclosure and intensity score, there will be dynamic pressure applied to other companies to do the same thing.

The top spot on the list goes to the British financial services company, Aviva. They are followed by Dutch firm Aegon, who provide Life Insurance, Pensions and Asset Management services.

Top non-financial companies include Switzerland's leading telecoms provider Swisscom (ranked 5th) at the number one spot, followed by Nokia (ranked 11th) and BskyB (ranked 13th).

Unsurprisingly, utilities companies were the biggest emitters of carbon, with Polish mining company KGHM last on the list. Utilities account for almost 46 of all climate-changing greenhouse gases.

A total of 129 companies across Europe provided data for the ranking, the reports said.

In its efforts to provide tools for the investment community to tackle climate change, the EIO plans to release further regional indexes and a global index in the coming months, after the release of its Environmental Tracking Europe 300 Carbon Ranking index, reports AFP.

Sam Gill adds, "Investing in a way which can help tackle climate change is an essential component of intelligent long term investment."

"Our ET Indexes are designed to offer investment opportunities along the same lines as their conventional counterparts. However, above all, they apply pressure to companies in a way that cannot be ignored: by influencing their share price."

European companies still have a long way to go on reporting greenhouse gas emissions. AFP reports that only about 13% of companies continue to report nothing to the public and only about 43% are releasing complete and verified information for their own emissions in addition to electricity.

According to the EIO, Spanish companies were the best at reporting. Ninety-two percent of companies in Spain provide complete information, including 77% with independently verified information.

The worst reporting comes from French and Swiss companies. Only 60% of French firms disclosed full emissions data, and only 27% of Swiss firms provided independently verified information.

"With world governments unable to agree on solutions and paralyzed by political realities, we have to explore all available options before it is too late," EIO Chairman and founder, Michael Gill urges the investment community to take action.

"We urgently need to start considering ways in which we can harness the enormous power wielded by the investment system and use it to change corporate behavior and cut emissions.

No one claiming to be concerned about climate change can legitimately ignore the potential of the ET Index system to achieve rapid results."

A full list of the EIO ranking can be found at: http://www.eio.org.uk/etindex.php?page=europe_300