An assessment of climate action by high-carbon global corporations


Corporations are an important source of GHG emissions and important actors in mitigating climate change. This paper presents and analyses a database of corporate climate action that provides an up-to-date assessment of companies’ carbon management practices, as well as systematically benchmarking companies’ emissions pathways against international targets. Our analysis covers 138 companies in 7 high-emitting sectors, accounting for 21% of emissions from all listed companies globally. While most companies have implemented basic carbon management practices, we find that less than half of them have implemented more strategic practices. Further analysis indicates companies separate into those that hardly undertake any carbon management practices and those that undertake most. Perhaps surprisingly, most corporate emissions targets in our sample are aligned with the Paris Agreement goals, although most companies are yet to set quantified targets. Companies that have implemented more carbon management practices today are more likely to have set 2 °C-aligned targets. Carbon management and emissions performance are associated most strongly with where companies are headquartered and their size.