143 investment groups, representing over $20 trillion in assets, have joined together under the banner of the Carbon Disclosure Project to ask the top 500 corporations on the planet (as determined by the Financial Times) about environmental policies and plans. The questions are both philosophical and operational, and give a good read on how the company approaches climate issues. This is the third year the Carbon Disclosure Project has sent out its questions. Last year, over 300 of the 500 responded, up from 245 the first year. The Project expects an even higher turnout this time around.
The number of participating investors grows each year, too. The first CDP was sent with the signatures of 35 investors; the second listed 95. This year, 143 investment firms have signed on to the Project. The investors (scroll down) include numerous global asset management groups and reinsurance companies; only a few are explicitly "socially responsible" in their approach (and few WorldChanging readers will be surprised to find that Swiss Re is on the list). Institutional investors and reinsurers need to focus on the long term, and are rapidly becoming the shockwave of sustainability in the business world. This much institutional money asking the 500 biggest companies about climate change issues can force the issue onto corporate agendas far faster than pickets and petitions.
The previous years' responses are available by company, as lump documents, or via a search page. The Carbon Disclosure Project lists which companies responded and which did not; some of those declining to participate may come as a surprise. (Amazon, Costco -- what's up? WalMart, Dell, and even ExxonMobil responded, why can't you?) Answers to this year's questionnaire are due by May 31st, 2005. If you're a shareholder in the companies that declined to respond last time around, think about leaning on them to participate.
Unfortunately, much of the site's material is available only in Microsoft Word .doc format, including this year's questionnaire. If you'd like to see examples what they're asking -- and the Project encourages non-FT500 companies to answer the questions, too -- a few of the questions are reproduced in the extended entry.
Excerpted questions from the CDP 3 Questionnaire (.doc format):
1. General: Do you believe climate change, the policy responses to climate change and/or adaptation to climate change represent commercial risks and/or opportunities for your company? - If yes, specify the implications, detail the strategies adopted and actions taken to date.- If no, please indicate why.
3. Innovation: What are the relevant technologies and/or processes that can be employed in your company/sector to achieve emission reductions? Have you taken any steps to develop/implement these technologies and do you anticipate being able to profit from their commercialisation?
6. Products and services: Do you estimate the emissions associated with:- Use and disposal of your products and services ?- Your supply chain.- Other indirect emissions (e.g. business travel)o If yes, for each of the above, please provide further information.o If no, are you planning on doing so and if so when?
7. Emissions reduction: Do you have emission reduction programmes in place? - If yes, when were they established and what are the targets? What have been the reductions achieved, the investment involved and the associated costs or savings? Please also detail any targets relating to Questions 6 and anticipated costs or savings.- If no, are you planning on doing so, and if so when?
9. Energy costs: What percentage of your total revenue is represented by the costs of fossil fuels and electric power?
"representing over $20 trillion in assets"
Did I read that right? Now that's what I call having some weight to throw around...
Heartening news that these questions are being asked by influential people--and a good resources for the rest of us, despite the use of MS Word.