The estimated cost of environmental damage by 3,000 of the world’s biggest companies is about $2.2 trillion in 2008, according to a report to be released this summer, reports The Guardian. The biggest single impact was greenhouse gas emissions, which accounts for more than half of the total cost damage, according to the article.
Other major costs cited include local air pollution such as particulates, and the damage caused by the over-use and pollution of freshwater.
The study, conducted by consultancy Trucost, indicates that the cost of pollution and other environmental damage would cost these companies about one-third of their profits, or about six to seven percent of their combined turnover, if they were held accountable, according to The Guardian.
The goal of the study is to help investors lobby companies to reduce their environmental impact before governments act to restrict them through taxes or regulations, and to help them reduce the risk of running out of resources they need to operate.
The report includes all 500 companies on Standard & Poor’s list of the largest publicly traded companies in the United States, including Exxon Mobil, Microsoft, Procter & Gamble and Apple, reports the New York Times.
Another UN study, “Stern for nature,” will be released later this year that will attempt to put a price on global environmental damage, with recommendations on how to prevent the damage, reports The Guardian.