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Most of the companies in the Dow 30 are planning for climate change and in fact Microsoft Corp. is a global leader of sustainability, according to a new report. The results seemed somewhat surprising given the lack of mandatory reporting in the U.S.
The U.S. is the only country in the world that is not a signatory of the Paris Agreement on climate change after President Donald Trump withdrew the country from the agreement last year. Despite a lack of federal support for climate-friendly regulations in the U.S,, individual state, cities and companies have moved ahead with their climate goals guided by the United Nations Sustainable Development Goals, said Mark Chadwick, CEO of UK operations at Eco-Act, a consultancy firm that helps businesses respond to climate change.
“There [is a] lack of faith in U.S. companies,” said Chadwick. “[The results] show that you don’t need legislation to drive performance.”
All of the companies on the Dow 30 publicly report emissions, with 87% of Dow 30 companies reporting in line with a recognized framework, according to EcoAct’s eighth annual Sustainability Reporting Performance report released at an event related to the United Nations General Assembly last week. Furthermore, 97% of Dow 30 companies already implementing energy efficiency technologies and 87% using renewable energy. The report examines the extent and quality of the sustainability measurement, reporting and emissions reduction of companies listed on the British FTSE 100, the French CAC 40 and the Spanish IBEX 35. It’s the first year that the Dow 30 was included.
Microsoft at the top
Microsoft led all the companies in the four indexes. Microsoft Corp. (MSFT) topped the EcoAct report’s ranking with a score of 94%, beating British telecom BT Group (BT) which scored 91% and UK-based Marks & Spencer (MAKSF), a multinational retailer, which got 89%.
“Microsoft’s remarkable achievement is reinforced by the fact that it is one of only two carbon neutral companies [Goldman Sachs is the other] in the Dow 30,” the report said. “Microsoft’s vision ‘to empower every person and every organization on the planet to achieve more’ drives its strategy to support the low-carbon transition and has led it to explore innovative technological solutions such as greener data centers, artificial intelligence tools for the environment and tech-based responses to water scarcity.”
Eco-Act scored the companies based on 79 criteria in four subject areas: measuring and reporting, strategy and governance, targets and reductions and engagement and innovation. The company uses only publicly available information and does not consider questionnaires on sustainability goals, but it does look at CEO interviews on YouTube to see if the company is truly committed.