Despite efforts in Washington to sideline action on climate change, a growing number of Fortune 500 companies are taking increasingly ambitious steps to reduce their greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions, procure more renewable energy and reduce their energy bills through energy efficiency, according to a new report from World Wildlife Fund (WWF),Ceres, Calvert Research and Management (Calvert) and CDP.
63% of Fortune 100 companies have set one or more clean energy targets, and nearly half (48%) have at least one climate or clean energy target – up 5% from an earlier 2014 report.
Accompanying this growth is rising ambition, with significant numbers of companies setting 100% renewable energy goals and science-based GHG reduction targets that align with the global goal of limiting global temperature rise to below two degrees Celsius.
Findings from the new report, Power Forward 3.0: How the largest US companies are capturing business value while addressing climate change, are based on 2016 company disclosures to CDP, which holds the world’s largest collection of self-reported corporate environmental data, and other public sources.
$3.7 billion in savings
The report highlights the financial benefits companies receive from their clean energy investments: nearly 80,000 emission-reducing projects by 190 Fortune 500 companies’ reporting data showed nearly $3.7 billion in savings in 2016 alone. The emission reductions from these efforts are equivalent to taking 45 coal-fired power plants offline every year.
Praxair, IBM and Microsoft are among the companies saving tens of millions of dollars annually through their energy efficiency efforts.
The 240 companies with targets have set one or more of the following goals: GHG reductions, energy efficiency improvements or renewable energy sourcing. 211 companies have set a GHG reduction goal, making it the most common target.
‘We are encouraged to see significant improvement in both the number of Fortune 500 companies setting climate and clean energy goals and the ambition of those goals – in particular commitments to setting science-based and 100 percent renewable energy targets. But in order to meet our national and global emissions goals, more companies will need to join the champions highlighted in this report, both in setting goals and in becoming vocal advocates for continued federal and state policies in support of climate and clean energy progress.’
Senior director of policy and the BICEP network at Ceres