The Carbon Disclosure Project, a non-profit that advocates corporate climate change disclosure on behalf of a large pool of institutional investors (funded by WWF, government environmental agencies, and various foundations), released its fifth annual report with great fanfare yesterday. In proceedings moderated by Harold E. Ford Jr. (DLC, Merrill Lynch) and keynoted by Bill Clinton (with a video message from Rupert Murdoch), the CDP’s Paul Dickinson announced the results from their questionnaire, sent to 2400 companies around the world. 1300 responded, including 77% of the Financial Times 500, compared to 72% in CDP4, 71% in CDP3, 59% in CDP2, and 47% in CDP1. 76% of responding FT500 companies reported implementing a GHG emissions reduction initiative compared to 48% in CDP4. Europe-based firms had the highest response rate with 83%. However, North America-based firms demonstrated significant improvement with a CDP5 response rate of 74%, compared to 66% in CDP4. South America-based firms also increased their response rate to 60% in CDP5 from 50% in CDP4. The website allows users to search responses by company name (some responses are not publicly available). The executive report is also available.
It’s interesting, for example, to contrast BP with ExxonMobil, both of whom offer detailed disclosures. BP has active wind, solar, biofuels, and CCS divisions, and is concerned by melting permafrost; ExxonMobil sees climate change as an opportunity for growth in the natural gas sector and is looking to reduce flaring in its natural gas wells in Nigeria.
In coverage, the New York Times notes that Gas Emissions Rarely Figure in Investor Decisions and the Washington Post and Business Week cover the Wal-Mart press release about setting up a program to measure its supply chain footprint. Agence-France Presse emphasizes the finding that World companies show big interest in climate, US firms lag, whereas Reuters sees the positive message that Climate change spurs industry restructuring. Forbes discusses Sun Microsystems’ launch of OpenEco, a corporate social-networking website for tracking GHG emissions.
Chicago, September 25-26 2007
This two-day event will bring together companies, regulators and other experts to discuss the best solutions for companies looking to mitigate their carbon footprints. Supporters of this event include the City of Chicago DoE, IBM, and MetaFore. Corporate Climate Response also coincides with Chicago’s ‘Cool Globes: Hot Ideas for a Cooler Planet’ festival.
This is our 5th Corporate Climate Response event and a number of top speakers are participating including representatives from Ford, Time, Anheuser-Busch, IBM, McDonald’s, United Technologies, Catepillar, BP America, Exelon, EPA, Energy Star, WRI and more.
This event includes sessions on carbon footprint and life-cycle analysis, energy efficiency, choosing green power sources, offsetting and emissions trading, climate adaptation, and engaging the public on global warming issues. Attendees will also learn about the latest update in national climate change policy and how upcoming state and federal actions will directly impact US corporations. It will attract over 200 delegates from across the US whose responsibility is to implement climate change solutions for their organizations.
- Mayor Richard M. Daley
- Laura Flanigan, Director, Chicago Sustainable Business Alliance
- Jonathan Lash, President, World Resources Institute
- John Disharoon, Director of Sustainable Development, Caterpillar Inc.
- Bill Gerwing, Director of Environmental Policy, BP America
- Melissa Lavinson, Director for Federal, Governmental and Regulatory Relations, PG&E
- Alice LeBlanc, Director of the Office of Environment and Climate Change, AIG
- Doug Scott, Chair of Climate Change Advisory, Illinois EPA
- Henry Henderson, National Resource Defense Council
- Karen Hobbs, First Deputy Commissioner, City of Chicago’s Department of Environment
- Michelle Manion, Climate & Energy Team Manager, NESCAUM
- Jim Sullivan, Director, Climate Leaders Program, EPA
- Vicki Arroyo, Director of Policy Analysis, Pew Center on Global Climate Change
- Howard Learner, Director, Environmental Law and Policy Center
- Anthony Janetos, Director, Joint Global Change Research Institute
- John Viera, Director of Sustainable Business Strategies, Ford Motor Company
- David Refkin, Director of Sustainability, Time Inc.
- Audra Jones, Senior Director of Partnership Development, UN Foundation
- Paul Vitello, Director of Environmental Programs, United Technologies
- Gary Rancourt ,Business Development Executive, IBM Big Green Innovations
- Steve DePalo, Energy Manager, McDonald’s USA
- Kara Saul Rinaldi, Director of Government and Public Affairs, Owens Corning
- Betsy Dutrow, Program Manager, Energy Star for Industry
- Peter Garforth, Principal, Garforth International
- Todd Brady, Corporate Environmental Manager, Intel Corporation
- Tom Costantino, Asset Management and Resource Recovery Manager, PSEG
- Jack Groh, Environmental Manager, NFL
- Bob Accarino, Director of Global Environmental affairs, Abbott
- Emily Barton, Corporate EHS Manager, Motorola and President, NAEM Lake Michigan Chapter
- Steve Fine, Vice President, ICF International
- Menno Enters, Manager of Utilities, Walgreens
- Dean Pusch, Manager of Environmental Affairs, Anheuser-Busch
- Jessica Bridges, Executive Director, USCHPA
- Helen Howes, Vice President, Corporate Environment Health & Safety, Exelon
- Rob Threlkeld, Manager of Supply Contracts and Green Initiatives, GM
- Laura H. Kosloff, Senior Counsel, EcoSecurities
- Michael Schlup, Director, The Gold Standard
- Anne Hambleton, Managing Director, Native Energy
- Jim Sullivan, Director, Climate Leaders Program, EPA
- George Milner, SVP Energy/Environmental, Mohawk Fine Papers
- Andrew Kruger, Vice President, Greenhouse Gas Markets, Evolution Markets
- Thomas M. Cushing, Vice President, Chicago Climate Exchange
- Rick Adcock, Senior Vice President of Environmental Markets, World Green Exchange
- Michael Loreman, Vice President, DTE Energy
- Ronald Meissen, Senior Director of Corporate Environment, Health and Safety, Baxter Healthcare Corporation
- James Stanway, Director of Project Development, Wal-mart
- Rich Wells, Vice President of Energy, Dow
- Peter Knight, Managing Director, Context
- Victoria Mills, Project Manager, Corporate Partnerships, Environmental Defense
- Dick Marklein, Energy Services Director, Kimberly Clark
- Matthew Banks, Senior Program Officer, Climate Change Program, WWF
- Andrew J. Hoffman, Holcim (US) Professor of Sustainable Enterprise, The University of Michigan
- Debra Shore, Commissioner, Metropolitan Water Reclamation District of Greater Chicago
- Brad Warren, Consultant, Sustainable Fisheries Partnership
- Jeannette Oelschlaegel, IResearch Manager, AccountAbility
- Wood Turner, Project Director, Climate Counts
- Don Carli, Research Fellow, Institute for Sustainable Communication
- Iciar Vaquero, Project Director, Carbon Footprinting and Labelling initiative, The Carbon Trust
The ring tone on Sister Patricia Daly’s cellphone is the “Hallelujah” chorus from Handel’s “Messiah,” which makes every call sound as if it’s coming from God. On the particular May afternoon, however, David Henry, who handles investor relations for the ExxonMobil Corporation, was on the line. Henry wanted to know if Daly planned to attend the annual shareholder meeting later that month — a rhetorical question, really, since Daly had been at every one of them for the past 10 years. At each she posed roughly the same question: What is ExxonMobil, the world’s largest publicly traded oil company, planning to do about global warming?
The article makes reference to Citigroup’s influential climate change investment report from the beginning of the year, Climatic Consequences: Investment Implications of a Changing Climate, and the May 2007 Greenpeace report ExxonMobil’s Continued Funding of Global Warming Denial Industry.
Yet global warming does seem to be an area in which social and fiscal concerns overlap. Recent reports by Goldman Sachs, Citigroup and Lehman Brothers have reinforced the notion that climate change has the potential to affect a company’s bottom line, and shareholder resolutions have been remarkably effective at getting companies to take global warming seriously. After the Connecticut state treasurer’s office filed three consecutive climate resolutions with American Electric Power, the nation’s single-largest producer of carbon dioxide, the company agreed in 2004 to study the impact on its operations of various carbon cap-and-trade proposals, whereby companies must either limit their carbon emissions or purchase emissions credits from other companies that pollute less. Today American Electric is one of the companies calling for mandatory carbon constraints. Other companies singled out by shareholder activists, like Home Depot, Ford, Prudential, Cinergy, Chevron Texaco, Apache and ConocoPhillips, have variously agreed to disclose their greenhouse-gas emissions, study the impact of climate change on their businesses, invest in renewable energy sources or support a mandatory carbon cap.
The exception, as Daly notes, is ExxonMobil. For years the company denied that global climate change was occurring. According to a Greenpeace report in May, ExxonMobil funnels more than $2 million a year to groups that dispute the reality of global warming. The company’s current C.E.O., Rex Tillerson, made headlines in February when he admitted that the risks from climate change “could prove to be significant,” but he continues to emphasize the uncertainty of the science. In May he said: “I know people like to boil it down to something very simple — the polar ice caps are melting, the planet is seven-tenths of a degree centigrade warmer. It’s really not that simple of an equation.” And while BP, Shell and ConocoPhillips have joined the United States Climate Action Partnership, which is lobbying for mandatory carbon limits, and are investing in renewable energy sources like wind, solar and biofuels, ExxonMobil remains coy about which, if any, carbon constraints it would support and has stated unequivocally that the company will not be putting money into renewables.