Ethical Performance
inside intelligence for responsible business


investors widen their disclosure net

March 2006

Further pressure on business over its climate change impacts has come with a decision by 211 institutional investors to ask the world’s 1800 largest companies to disclose information on their greenhouse gas emissions.

The investors, who have assets of $28.9trillion (£16.3trillion) under management, are all members of the Carbon Disclosure Project, which was formed to allow them to pool their resources on climate change and begin a concerted effort to spur companies into action to reduce emissions. Until now they have concentrated on the world’s 500 largest quoted companies by market capitalization. In all, 1800 businesses will now be sent letters seeking disclosure of their emissions within four months. The investors will share the information and make the reports publicly available online, starting in September.

Project co-ordinator Paul Dickinson said that the signatories had joined in the call for information in order ‘to reduce the number of requests’ being made. Of the 500 companies previously targeted, those that responded have been invited to report progress and those that did not have been told to do so – or explain why they don’t believe the request is relevant to them. Among the companies now being targeted are 40 of Asia’s largest businesses outside Japan.

One sign of greater disclosure of emissions emerged last month with a study of 1263 companies by the research company Sustainable Asset Management. This showed the proportion of companies failing to provide emissions data fell from 24 per cent in 2002 to 12 per cent in 2005.

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