CDP Carbon Action Initiative Summary Report

This report is the first of the Carbon Action initiative. Developed by CDP and a driving group of investors including Aviva, CCLA, Robeco and Scottish Widows Investment Partnership, this initiative has a goal to accelerate company action on the reduction of carbon.

The urgency for large scale, international response to carbon emissions has been established by international bodies such as the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) and the International Energy Agency (IEA). The corporate community has an important role to play.

This report builds the case for an investor led approach to reducing corporate greenhouse gas emissions. It also provides headline information on how companies are performing in the key Carbon Action requests of setting targets, reducing emissions and making investments in emission reduction activities. This is delivered alongside examples of current emission reduction activities.

Some key findings

Current levels of ambition demonstrated by target setting are not sufficient. Comparing the trajectory of Scope 1 emissions reduction commitments made by the Global 500 with the 25% - 40% reduction on 1990 levels by 2020, that is deemed necessary for Annex 1 countries by the IPCC, a gap of between 464 and 984 million tonnes can be seen.

There is a clear business case for action. Emissions performance leaders outperform others financially and emissions saved could equate to significant amounts of money. Emission reductions due to emission reduction activities reported by the Global 500 in 2011 could equate to between US$1,120 and $3,360 million (excluding investment costs) should a carbon price be applied.

The opportunities are extensive. The research has identified 839 individual emission reduction initiatives with a payback of less than three years across a wide range of industries and activity types. In this year’s report a focus is given to cross-sectoral opportunities. A payback period of less than one year is associated with energy efficiency in building services.

Investor requests are helping to drive change. 35 of the 205 companies requested to set targets as part of the Carbon Action request, reported targets in 2011.

After a successful start to the Carbon Action initiative, CDP and its investors are keen to continue this success and use it to its full potential to drive change. It is intended to develop the initiative further to encompass more companies and become increasingly targeted. To find out more about Carbon Action, contact

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