Europe’s Best and Worst Carbon Polluters Named and Shamed

The Environmental Investment Organisation (EIO) put insurers Aviva and Aegon at the top of the heap of Europe's 300 largest companies for their low levels of publicly-reported greenhouse gas emissions, relative to their revenue.

For the first time, Europe’s 300 biggest companies are being ranked according to their Greenhouse Gas emissions. The ET Europe 300 Carbon Ranking highlights the best and the worst of the continent’s top businesses, focusing not just on emissions but also on levels of disclosure and verification.

The Environmental Investment Organisation (EIO), a UK based independent non-profit research body, employs a transparent methodology for its Ranking, based on public reporting of Scope 1 and 2 emissions according to the widely accepted Greenhouse Gas Protocol.

First place Aviva is followed closely by Dutch firm Aegon, which offers Life Insurance, Pensions and Asset Management services, with respective Carbon Intensities of 0.85 and 1.35 (tCO2e/$M turnover). The top three non-financial companies are Switzerland’s leading Telecoms provider Swisscom, followed by Nokia (11th, 5.61) and BSkyB (13th, 6.69).

All five of the companies mentioned above rank in the top category of the ET Carbon Rankings because they publicly report ‘public, complete and verified’ data for their Scope 1 & 2 Greenhouse Gas (GHG) emissions. The number of companies providing data in this category totals 129 across Europe’s largest 300 companies. The full report is available online by clicking here.

Having already launched its ET UK 100 Carbon Ranking in February and today the Europe 300, the EIO will be rolling out further regional Rankings in the coming months with the ET North America 300, Asia-Pacific 300 and BRICS 100 all under development. These will be followed by the ET Global 800 which will rank the largest companies in the world with no geographical bias. All ET Carbon Rankings follow the same simple methodology.

Sam Gill, Operational Director of the EIO, said, “The purpose of the Carbon Rankings is two fold: to highlight the carbon emissions and levels of disclosure of the world’s largest companies with the aim of fostering greater transparency and to form the basis of a series of stock market indexes, designed specifically to provide the investment community with a viable tool for tackling climate change.”

“Despite most companies producing corporate social responsibility reports there remains a remarkable lack of transparency and clarity in Greenhouse Gas emissions reporting”

“Through our series of Global, Regional and National ET Carbon Rankings, the public can access emissions data in an understandable format in one place, highlighting the leaders and laggards.” As one company improves its levels of disclosure and intensity score, dynamic pressure is applied to all other companies.

An early success story in this respect is Mining company Randgold Resources, which previously came last in the ET UK 100 Carbon Ranking, for failing to disclose their emissions in either their Sustainability or Annual Reports. Randgold has now begun reporting publicly, for the first time, in its most recent Annual report. This has seen them move off the bottom spot in the updated UK 100, which has been re-released with more up to date information to coincide with the launch of the Europe 300.

The ET Carbon Rankings make up the first phase of the Environmental Tracking concept. The EIO will be using them to create a series of real-time mainstream investment indexes. The ET UK 100 and The ET Europe 300 are due to be released as ‘live’ indexes in mid May this year.

The ET Carbon Indexes are designed to lower corporate emissions by influencing a company’s share price, offering the investment community an innovative tool to encourage transparency and emission reductions on a global scale. They do this by re-weighting companies according to their position in the Carbon Rankings.

Sam Gill added, “Investing in a way which can help tackle climate change is an essential component of intelligent long term investment.”

“Our ET Indexes are designed to offer investment opportunities along the same lines as their conventional counterparts. However, above all, they apply pressure to companies in a way that cannot be ignored: by influencing their share price.”

Michael Gill, EIO Chairman and founder, urged the investment community to seize the initiative: “With world governments unable to agree on solutions and paralysed by political realities, we have to explore all available options before it is too late. We urgently need to start considering ways in which we can harness the enormous power wielded by the investment system and use it to change corporate behaviour and cut emissions. No-one claiming to be concerned about climate change can legitimately ignore the potential of the ET Index system to achieve rapid results.”

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