The recent World Economic Forum event in Davos ranked the unfolding climate crisis among the top three risks companies and governments must address in order to prevent irreversible environmental damage. With the stakes that high, it is becoming critical for organizations of all sizes to take into account climate change risks and opportunities as they develop their strategic and business continuity plans.
Two fundamentally different schools of thought have emerged on how to address climate change. On one side, NGOs and climate activists such as Greta Thunberg are pressuring governments to abruptly divert away from fossil fuels, a shift that experts say would exact a deep economic impact. On the other side is the camp that believes capitalism will run its course and ultimately guide public and private entities to find climate change solutions.
For their part, organizations are responding to rising pressure from shareholders and stakeholders to disclose their emissions mitigation strategies. The accuracy and completeness of environmental disclosures ranges widely. Some businesses adopt a conservative approach and limit the volume of information made public, while others announce aggressive targets for reducing emissions from their operations and supply chains.
Formed 18 years ago, the Carbon Disclosure Project (CDP) has motivated companies (and now cities) to disclose their greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions. In 2019, more than 525 institutional investors representing $96 trillion in assets backed the CDP, whose annual CDP questionnaire is often recognized as the most “comprehensive collection of self-reported environmental data in the world.”
As the list of signatory investors supporting the CDP has grown over the years, so has the number of companies responding to the annual CDP questionnaire – from 228 companies in 2003 to over 8,400 in 2019. Company scores are based on 14 disclosure areas such as C-suite level sign-off on the questionnaire content, producing GHG emission data verified by a third party, or publicizing their completed questionnaire on the CDP website. Among all respondents, 179 companies (2%) scored the highest in leadership by demonstrating the strongest commitments to reducing greenhouse gases emissions from their operations and supply chain.
Among these 179 companies – referred to as the A-list companies – 10 are SEMI members headquartered in Japan, Taiwan, Korea and France. SEMI applauds these members for ranking among the most progressive companies in disclosing greenhouse gas emissions, an achievement that requires considerable work but puts them in a position of strength in conveying to customers, investors and other stakeholders their commitment to climate resiliency.
Olivier Corvez is senior manager of Environment, Health, Safety and Sustainability at SEMI.