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Top 100 Emitters Greenhouse Gas Emissions Report: sustainability & growth can work

Thomson Reuters released the Global 100 Greenhouse Gas Performance: New Pathways for Growth and Leadership report last week, see.  The report revealed that the world is in big trouble:

  • 16 of 17 warmest years on record globally have occurred since 2000 And there is a 1 in 27 million odds that string of hottest years globally since 2000 occurred naturally
  • 1.48 C – global average temperature change from early industrial levels most likely for the whole of 2016
  • 410 ppm – atmospheric CO2 likely to reach unprecedented level in 2017 
  • 22 to 44 cm – IPCC projected sea level rise by 2100
  • 1 trillion tons – cumulative ice loss in Greenland between 2011 and 2014 
  • 12% per decade – rate of Arctic Sea ice decline.

But there is hope

The world’s 100 largest publicly traded emitters (Global 100) are developing strategies for emissions reduction and earnings growth. Tim Nixon, Head of Sustainability Thought Leadership, Corporate Responsibility & Inclusion at Thomson Reuters, and co-author for the report commented, “A significant finding of this report is there is an increasing correlation between sustainability and growth.  Committing to rigorous decarbonization will not adversely impact financial gain and will positively increase shareholder value over the long term.  This argument is critical to ensuring that the Global 100 remain committed to operating responsibly.”

The report uses Xcel Energy’s journey, which started in 2004, to highlight a four stage frame work which is applicable to all carbon-intensive companies:

  1. Doing Old Things in New Ways
  2. Doing New Things in New Ways
  3. Transforming the Core
  4. New Business Model Creation and Differentiation.

With this programme Xcel Energy’s emissions have declined 24% from 2005 levels, well ahead of targets, and the company produces 34% of its total energy from renewables with a goal of 43% by 2020.

However

The report notes that, “Ending the use of fossil fuels would constitute a nearly 2/3 direct decrease in GHG emissions. However, fossil fuels power and have powered the world economy since the industrial revolution. The challenge is how to decarbonize the economy to achieve the low-carbon and ultimately net-zero status in the time needed to minimize climate impacts, ranging from serious disruptions to potential catastrophe.”

A review of the opportunities in reductions in Fossil Fuel Energy, Transport, Mining, Cement, Steel, and Building show the many opportunities to drive decarbonization. The role of the Top 100 Emitters are crucial in reducing GHG emissions.

Conclusion

The report concludes that, “The cases and sector views presented demonstrate that making our way toward a low-carbon future is possible. The data suggest companies, even in carbon-intensive sectors, can have a winning strategy turning leadership into business opportunity. Dennis Whalen, leader of KPMG’s Board Leadership Center, states, “As we cross the threshold to a lower carbon world, there is a growing recognition of risks associated with long-term carbon intensive business models. Early movers that invest now in staying competitive in a low carbon future, could gain signi cant advantages as they integrate lower cost, lower risk and more resilient business models.”


CTMfile take: All companies could usefully adopt this four-stage approach to sustainability. Early movers in moving to a sustainable business model will ensure their financial viability in the long term.

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