Processors cited for reducing greenhouse gas emissions

By Ahmed ElAmin

- Last updated on GMT

Related tags Greenhouse gas

Diageo, Coca-Cola, Unilever, Cadbury Schweppes, and Tesco are
industry leaders in moving to reduce greenhouse gas emissions,
according to an annual report by the Carbon Disclosure Project.

The organisation, which surveys companies on the Financial Times' list of top 500 companies listed globally, found food and beverage companies demonstrated a growing awareness of the physical risks associated with climate change. About 42 per cent of those responding to the survey in food and drug retailing said they had a CO2 emissions reduction programme in place. About 30 per cent of food manufacturers said they had one. "The increased frequency and intensity of extreme weather events has generated significant concern throughout the beverages and tobacco and food products sectors,"​ the organisation stated. "Particular attention is given to the availability of future water resources."​ The survey generated a variety of responses from food and beverage processors. However the response by dairy giant Danone seemed to show a lack of concern about the growing regulatory and consumer demand that companies reduce their manufacturing impact on the environment. "Danone replied 'none' to questions about regulatory risks associated with climate change,"​ the Carbon Disclosure Project noted. The response is in sharp contrast to Kellogg, which stated that the UK climate change levy has led it to focus more attention and investment on energy conservation activities. "Our UK business has aggressively addressed energy management, enabling us to consistently meet the goals of the climate change levy since the programme was implemented,"​ Kellogg stated. "These activities have also given us perspective on how regulatory programmes may impact our businesses around the world."​ Meanwhile Anheuser-Busch said it was active in seed research design to develop crop that are resistant to extreme weather events. The company has a special unit to manage water-related issues related to its supply chain, products, and local communities. Heineken was cited for developing a programme to establish water usage targets for its plants. The organization noted that Unilever has partnered with several stakeholder groups to develop sustainable agriculture programmes that focus on ways to improve farming efficiency and minimise water use. The survey was done by CDP for the Carbon Disclosure Project, on behalf of 315 investors, including Merrill Lynch, Goldman Sachs, CalPERS and AIG. The interest by the investment firms indicates how closely these are looking at companies to ensure they are preparing for growing demands to reduce CO2 emissions and environmental impact. The CDP responses and reports provide the largest and most comprehensive database of strategies from the world's largest corporations regarding the impact of climate change on shareholder value, the Carbon Disclosure Project stated. Every response was graded and ranked based on climate disclosure and governance practices. FT500 companies with leading disclosure practice are highlighted in the Climate Disclosure Leadership Index (CDLI), which includes corporations such as Hewlett Packard, Citigroup, Coca Cola, Wal-Mart, Royal Bank of Scotland, Allianz, Unilever and Diageo. The report rates companies under the Climate Governance Index on disclosure, emissions reductions and strategy, with leaders including DuPont, General Motors, Consolidated Edison, Alcoa, United Technologies and 3M. The report concludes that the world's corporate giants have made "significant progress in understanding and disclosing their positions relative to the risks and opportunities associated with climate change". In particular, the report highlights a narrowing gap between climate awareness and action among the FT500. About 80 per cent of the respondents said they saw climate change as presenting risks and opportunities to their business. About 76 per cent of responding companies reported implementing an emissions reduction strategy compared to 48 per cent last year. "This trend suggests that a majority of firms recognise the financial and reputational benefits of improved carbon performance,"​ the organisation stated. The report noted that carbon markets continue to expand. Despite a surplus of carbon credits under the European Union Emissions Trading Scheme (EU ETS), global carbon markets demonstrated significant growth in 2006. About 1.6 billion tonnes of CO2 worth US$29bn were traded in 2006, double the volume compared to 2005. The trend is expected to continue this year, with volumes projected to reach 2.4bn tonnes of CO2 worth US$31 billion, according to the organisation.

Related topics Markets Sustainability

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