By Ira Srivastava
1. Climate Disclosure Project breaks disclosure record in 2023. The Climate Disclosure Project has reported that over 23,000 companies around the world are reporting their environmental data, a new record. These companies are collectively worth almost US$70 trillion and make up more than ⅔ of global market cap. This is a 24% jump from last year, and a 300% increase since the Paris Agreement was signed eight years ago. Japan, the United States, Germany, the United Kingdom, and China were the countries leading the way with the highest numbers of companies disclosing information. Notably only 1% of companies reported on water security and deforestation, the other two key areas of CDP disclosures.
2. California says no to oil. California is a leader in environmental policy, which is to be expected as the state faces more than its share of climate disasters from floods to wildfires to extreme drought. Last month, California became the largest economy in the world to support the Fossil Fuel Non-Proliferation Treaty. This initiative was launched by Vanuatu and Tuvalu, a pair of island nations in the Pacific Ocean suffering from rising sea levels. It calls for an end to the production of coal, oil, and gas as well as a just transition to renewable energies. A few weeks after announcing its support for the treaty, state legislators voted to pass sweeping climate disclosure bills into law despite heavy opposition from lobbyists. Finally, four days after the disclosure bills passed, California sued five fossil fuel companies for minimising the environmental damage of fossil fuels and misleading the public. The state’s filing claims that these oil companies should be on the hook for the billions of dollars in damage caused by climate disasters, not California’s taxpayers.
3. Standard setters around the world raise issues with the International Sustainability Standards Board). Standard setters in Canada, the UK, Australia, Malaysia, and New Zealand wrote a letter to the ISSB expressing concerns with the connectivity of its new standards with other accounting frameworks. A common concern among the five countries was a lack of alignment between the International Accounting Standards Board (IASB) and ISSB. They believe that more collaborative work needs to be done and that the ISSB standards are not appropriately connective and comparable with other standards.
4. Green governance is profitable. Green governance is a strategy where companies are led and decisions are made with the aim of promoting sustainability and responsible resource use. Environmental considerations are woven into every aspect of the company’s operations and hierarchy rather than being pigeon-holed to one department or board committee. Here are some companies who are walking the talk.
- Hewlett Packard: After facing pressure from consumers on their environmental impact, HP’s sustainability team engaged with customers over their sustainability strategies. These discussions on circularity, efficient energy usage, and more led to a 400% increase in profit from 2018 to 2022.
- United Airlines: United has committed to buying aircraft that have significantly higher fuel efficiencies than older planes. This is expected to cause a 20% drop in annual emissions, putting them on track to reach net zero in 2050 without offsets.
- Goodyear Tires: Goodyear conducts an annual energy audit to determine where losses occur and what can be done to limit energy waste and boost efficiency, with the aim of a zero-loss operation. In doing so, the company has saved nearly US$20 million in 2022 and improved energy efficiency by 2.3% in three years.
5. PwC releases 2023 State of Climate Tech report. As the world faces down a recession, organisations around the world are downsizing their workforce and expenditures. PwC’s 2023 State of Climate Tech report finds that investments in climate technology have fallen 40% in the past year, however overall investments are down by 50%. Despite the dire figures, climate technology investment is still outpacing other areas of investment. The report also concludes that money for emissions reduction is being spent more efficiently, with more funds being invested in higher potential tech than previous years.
Ira Srivastava is Competent Boards’ Program Coordinator. Follow Competent Boards on LinkedIn.