Carbon Action

Carbon Action is an investor-led initiative to accelerate company action on carbon reduction and energy efficiency activities which deliver a satisfactory return on investment.

304 investors with US$22 trillion in assets under management ask the world’s highest emitting companies to take three specific actions in response to climate change:

  • Make emissions reductions (year-on-year); with
  • targets publicly disclosed; and
  • ROI-positive investments in projects

In 2015, the Carbon Action request has gone to over 1300 companies across 17 high emitting industries.

Aim and purpose

Signatory investors recognize the business benefits of target setting and investment in emissions reducing and energy efficiency projects. Carbon Action helps investors advance understanding of portfolio company carbon management and energy efficiency initiatives and to improve risk management in areas including regulation, operations, fiduciary duty and reputation. It helps companies generate positive returns through carbon reducing and energy efficiency projects and so build long term sustainable businesses.

What Action Can Investors Take?

We invite investors to sign up to Carbon Action to accelerate cost effective company action on energy efficiency and carbon reduction. Signatories benefit from:

  • Corporate climate and energy management data;
  • Analysis of emissions, targets, and investment in emissions-reduction activities for all the companies that receive the Carbon Action letter and engagement facilitation.
  • CDP supports collaborative engagement with companies by providing analysis and benchmarking tools, background information on each company, coordinating individual or joint letters, and where appropriate, helping investors file shareholder resolutions.

CDP Carbon Action launch

CDP Carbon Action Report

Download CDP Carbon Action report 2014
+ More reports

Key findings

CDP’s Carbon Action initiative saw the following results in 2014:

  • 7% increase in the number of companies targeted to 322; although the number of companies reporting emissions reduction projects did not increase correspondingly;
  • 34% increase in the number of signatories to 254;
  • An upward trend in the number of companies establishing emissions-reduction targets, with an increase of 3% over three years to reach 79% of responding companies (2271);
  • For companies reporting all required data for projects, emissions reductions increased by 8%;2
  • Although investments in emissions-reduction projects were reported to have increased by 18%, emissions were reduced by only 8%; and
  • 21% of responding companies did not adopt any intensity or absolute targets.

1 224 responding companies and 3 companies responding through their parent companies
2 Annual emissions reduction, annual monetary savings and initial investment

Who will receive this request?

The Carbon Action request is sent as a letter to the Chair of the Board in each year in February.

It is additional but complementary to CDP's climate change request.


How to comply with this request?

The request asks for specific action from companies to reduce emissions and to report all relevant information through the existing CDP information system.

The letter will be accompanied by a short guidance document which indicates which of the questions in February’s information request are appropriate for reporting emissions reducing activities and target setting.

News and resources?

Paul Simpson on Bloomberg TV
Paul Simpson, CEO of CDP, talks about Carbon Action and the economic benefits of reducing carbon emissions.

Carbon reduction brings 33% average return to investors
Investment Europe, 03 Dec 2012.

Contact us
For further information on Carbon Action, contact

The company perspective

Scott Wicker “UPS is a long-time supporter of CDP, which has proven that information and data do drive change and corporate responsibility. CDP's Carbon Action initiative is the latest way for corporations to address climate change in a systematic, quantitative and credible way.”

— Scott Wicker, Chief Sustainability Officer at UPS

The investor perspective

Craig Mackenzie “This initiative focuses on cases where companies do not need to make a choice between emissions reductions or higher financial returns. In the face of rising energy costs, reducing a company’s emissions often means higher profits. Efficient management of energy offers a huge win-win: lower carbon emissions, higher returns for shareholders.”

— Craig Mackenzie, Head of Sustainability at SWIP

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