More companies take part in carbon study

More companies than ever are supplying data about their carbon footprint ahead of key meetings this week at the United Nations and the G20, a global group that tracks emissions from major corporations has announced.

It’s an example of how the stars from the corporate and public-policy universe are aligning on climate change for the G20 summit and the major meeting at the United Nations this week.

While no major breakthroughs are expected, some of the framework for climate-change measures will be laid out before the global talks in Copenhagen later this year, with world leaders addressing the expiration of the historic Kyoto Protocol next year.

The Carbon Disclosure Project, the nonprofit entity, said the response rate from its Global 500, the largest companies in the FTSE Global Equity Index, rose to 82 percent this year from 77 percent last year.

The United States, Japan, Germany, the United Kingdom and France accounted for 70 percent of both respondents and emissions disclosed.

The number of Asian firms responding increased to 71 from 51, while the BRIC country response (Brazil, Russia, India and China) doubled from to 44 percent from 22 percent.

Among other findings in the study: 51 percent of the Global 500 companies report emission-reduction targets, up from 41 percent in 2008. The number of nonrespondents fell to fewer than 100 for the first time.

“These figures suggest that, despite the recession, companies are taking climate change seriously,” said Steve Milunovich, Bank of America Merrill Lynch alternative-energy strategist and analyst. “Key areas of disclosure include emissions, reduction targets, forecasts, emission verification and annual reporting.”

On the U.N. front, climate chief Yvo De Boer said he expected Chinese President Hu Jintao to announce a series of measures to establish the country as a world leader in climate change, according to reports.

Allianz SE, Consolidated Edison Inc., EMC Corp., Reckitt Benckiser and Siemens AG along with BASF, Boeing Co. and Cisco Systems Inc. were among the global corporations leading efforts to tackle climate change, according to this year’s Global 500 Report.

The companies topping the list on carbon disclosure in 2009 include Bayer, BASF, HSBC Holdings, Wal-Mart Stores Inc. and Chevron Corp.

Founded in 2000, the Carbon Disclosure Project represents some 475 global institutional investors, with more than $55 trillion in assets under management.

CDP collects key climate-change data from some 2,500 corporations around the globe, and has assembled the largest corporate-emissions database in the world. It also works with multinational organizations to facilitate the collection of climate-change data.

(c) 2009, Inc. Source: McClatchy-Tribune Information Services.