Household names are among more than 100 companies recognised as global leaders in climate action by the investor-backed CDP
Apple, Sainsbury's, Microsoft and Google are among the 113 companies awarded a place on the CDP 2015 Climate 'A List', which aims to recognise those businesses taking the most ambitious action to tackle climate change.
The firms are named in the CDP's annual Climate Change Report, released yesterday on behalf of the 822 global investors with $85tr in global assets that support the CDP. The A List is based on a CDP (formerly known as the Carbon Disclosure Project) analysis of corporate environmental data voluntarily submitted by nearly 2,000 companies with a total market capitalisation. The CDP requests a range of environmental information from publicly listed companies on behalf of institutional investors, who maintain access to environmental, social and governance data helps them make better investment decisions.
In the new report firms were assessed both for their efforts to mitigate their climate impact - such as by taking steps to measure, verify and reduce their carbon footprint - and for the transparency of their reporting on climate-related information.
Brands that made the final cut include Unilever, Nestlé, Samsung, Hewlett Packard Enterprise, Nissan, Sony, L'Oréal, BMW and Fiat-Chrysler.
The report also highlighted the growing momentum of business action on climate change, comparing voluntary disclosures from 1,997 firms this year with data collected from 1,799 companies in 2010. It found nine out of 10 firms now have strategies in place to reduce carbon, compared to less than half five years ago.
In addition, 94 per cent of firms now have senior or board-level management dedicated to sustainability and climate change, and 75 per cent offer incentives for improving climate performance.
Paul Dickinson, executive chairman of the CDP, called on governments to provide a strong policy framework at the upcoming Paris Summit to encourage further climate action from businesses.
"The influence of the corporation is mighty. The momentum of business action on climate change suggests we have reached a tipping point, where companies are poised to achieve their full potential," he said in a statement. "They need ambitious policy at both a national and international level that will support them in this regard and will catalyse participation from industry at scale."
The rise in business activity to tackle climate change coincides with increasing investor engagement on the topic, CDP said. In 2014, more than $20tr was invested in environmental, social, and governance funds - a rise of 61 per cent in two years.
In a foreword to the report, Dickinson said investor interest has continued to gather pace throughout 2015, highlighting shareholder support for climate resolutions at companies such as BP and Shell, and the growing numbers of institutions joining the divestment movement.
The report follows a separate study earlier this week from consultancy giant PwC, which detailed how business-led initiatives to cut carbon emissions could deliver two thirds of the emission reductions required to meet the internationally agreed goal of limiting average temperature increases to 2C.