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Most Climate Action 100+ Companies Are Failing on Emissions

Investor group says only 17% of biggest corporate polluters have set appropriate medium-term targets.

An investor alliance with a combined $68 trillion of assets has issued a damning report about the world’s biggest polluters, revealing that less than one-fifth have actually mapped out a meaningful path toward net-zero emissions.

The analysis by shareholder group Climate Action 100+, which focused on the 166 companies with the largest carbon footprints, revealed that only 17% have set medium-term targets aligned with limiting global warming to 1.5 degrees Celsius. At the same time, 69% claim they’ll have reached net zero by 2050, the investor group said in Wednesday’s report.

Companies “aren’t making the progress required to align with achieving the 1.5°C climate goal,” said Stephanie Maier, global head of sustainable and impact investment at GAM Investments and chair of the Climate Action 100+ Steering Committee. “Given that these companies represent the world’s largest corporate greenhouse gas emitters, their ambition and pace of change is critical to a successful transition and needs to accelerate.”

With the world already recording an increase in temperature of 1.1°C above pre-industrial levels, any foot-dragging by major emitters reduces the likelihood of avoiding a climate catastrophe. Investors are likely to continue to step up pressure on the companies they own as they too face pressure from regulators and clients to prove they’re slashing financed emissions.