'A-List' climate change firms outperform on stock market: Survey

Apple is among more than 120 global firms that scored top marks in a ranking of corporate efforts to slow climate change.
Apple is among more than 120 global firms that scored top marks in a ranking of corporate efforts to slow climate change.PHOTO: AFP

OSLO (REUTERS) - Apple, L'Oreal and Mitsubishi Electric are among more than 120 global firms that scored top marks in a ranking of corporate efforts to slow climate change.

Many companies say they are stepping up action on climate change since almost 200 governments struck the 2015 Paris climate agreement to phase out greenhouse gas emissions this century by shifting from fossil fuels.

But only 2 per cent of 6,800 firms that submitted data made the "A List" of CDP's index, including Johnson & Johnson, Nestle, China Mobile and Microsoft.

London-based CDP, formerly the Carbon Disclosure Project, said its data showed the shares of its index leaders tend to outperform on stock markets. Companies are coming under increasing pressure from shareholders to address climate change.

CDP said the STOXX Global Climate Leaders index, based on the CDP A List, outperformed the STOXX Global 1800 of major firms by 5.4 per cent a year from December 2011 to July 2018.

"We think (climate action) is a lead indicator of quality in other areas, especially sustainability and management," Dexter Galvin, global director of corporates and supply chains at CDP, told Reuters ahead of the index publication on Tuesday (Jan 22).

Galvin said it was hard to compare the 2018 results with previous years due to changes in the questions posed. As a result, a company that dropped off the list was not necessarily performing worse, he added.

CDP asks companies to disclose their performance on climate change and separately surveys their efforts to limit water use and to protect forests in its study, which is backed by more than 650 investors with assets of US$87 trillion (S$118.3 trillion) and is meant to spur efforts to protect the planet.

Galvin said CDP would in future be bolder in naming and shaming in the report, which was issued to coincide with the start of the World Economic Forum in Davos.

Among examples of efforts made by its A-List companies, CDP said Danish toymaker Lego launched the first Lego elements made from plant-based plastic sourced from sugar cane.

And South Korean electronics company LG Display had developed and invested in more than 150 water-related reduction technologies between 2013 and 2017, it added.