FTSE 100 making progress on climate change reporting

More top UK companies are taking climate change reporting seriously with BT, Marks & Spencer and Unilever topping the annual Eco-Act Sustainability Reporting Performance of the FTSE 100 index

The report ranks FTSE 100 companies on their sustainable business practices and reviews performance in terms of their sustainability reporting on managing climate risk and future proofing business operations; innovating to maximise on energy and emissions reductions; responding to legislation and investor calls for action; and shifting towards a low-carbon economy.

BT came top of the list of FTSE 100 index with an overall score of 91%, while Marks & Spencer were second with 89% and Unilever in third place with 86%. HSBC, Coca-Cola, Royal Bank of Scotland and Sky all improved their overall ranking in the top 10 this year.

There has been a significant improvement in the level and scope of substainability reporting with a ‘step change’ in results for 2018, according to Eco-Act findings, with scores across four key research areas based on target setting and reduction; measurement and reporting; strategy and governance; and engagement and innovation, up by up to 15% year on year. 

Although there is not a mandatory reporting framework, nearly two thirds (63%) of the FTSE 100 use recognised reporting frameworks such as the Global Reporting Initiative (GRI) used by 38% of companies, up 2% year on year, while 8% use the United Nations Global Compact (UNGC), based on Sustainable Development Goals (SDG) into their reporting, and others 89%) a combination of both. However, more than a third (37%) use no framework.

Despite significant improvements in the quality of reporting, less than half (41%) report in line with the recommendations of the Taskforce on Climate-related Financial Disclosures (TCFD) on putting climate risk reporting into the corporate sustainability narrative.

However, in industry sectors most affected by environmental scrutiny or exposed to climate change: 100% of electricity, gas and oil supply companies report alignment with TCFD, followed by real estate investment trusts at 66%, mining at 43%, banks at 40% and financial services at 38%.

According to the report, 76 FTSE 100 companies have set carbon reduction targets although less than half (42%) are on schedule to meet their targets

Gabrielle Ginér, head of environmental sustainability at BT, said: ‘It has been a very exciting year for us, setting our 1.5 degree celsius science-based target and continuing to collaborate with our suppliers on environmental sustainability.

‘We hope that by leading by example we can inspire others to take action,’ she said. ‘It is within our hands to catalyse carbon reduction throughout all sectors of the economy.  Last year, BT’s products helped our customers cut their carbon emissions by 11.3m tonnes, for example through video conferencing and vehicle telematics.’

EcoAct UK chief executive Mark Chadwick said he hoped the report would inspire further climate change action in the business community. ‘Climate disclosure is about future-proofing business models to ensure sustainable investment over short term profits and, ultimately, longevity,’ he said.

The Sustainability Reporting Performance of the FTSE 100 - 2018 conducted by international consultancy firm EcoAct, ranks FTSE 100 companies on their sustainable business practices

Report by Rob Munro, Sara White

Rob Munro |Journalist and contributor, Accountancy

Rob Munro is a journalist specialising in finance, health and technology. He has worked for several major publishers, including Wile...

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