While more than 80% of the largest U.S. companies have set emissions reduction goals, less than half engaged with lawmakers to advocate for science-based climate policies — and more than 20% have lobbied against them, according to report released Tuesday by sustainability nonprofit Ceres.
“Claiming credit for making operational climate change commitments while undermining the necessary policy measures to achieve those very commitments poses significant reputational and financial risks to companies,” the report’s authors wrote.
Ceres’s analysis comes as climate concerns are playing a larger role in capital markets and shareholder actions. So far this year, companies around the globe have issued $297 billion in green bonds, a 152% increase year-over-year, according to data compiled by Bloomberg. Shareholders also have been increasingly forceful in demanding change, including from fossil fuel titans Exxon Mobil Corp. and Chevron Corp., which were each the target of successful resolutions demanding climate-conscious changes to corporate strategy.
“This is a work in progress,” said Steven Rothstein, managing director of the Ceres Accelerator for Sustainable Capital Markets. “The good thing is companies are highlighting their climate needs. Investors are shouting it from the rooftops in every way they can, and now it has to go deeper.”