Autodesk, Unilever and Eli Lilly are the top three sustainable companies, according to a study analyzing greenhouse gas emissions of 100 companies.
Climate Counts 2013 Carbon Study looked at companies that have voluntarily disclosed their emissions publicly since 2005 through CDP.
It analyzed the companies against science-based targets that seek to limit climate change to 2 degrees Celsius and found 49 percent rated sustainably. On the flip side, however, 51 percent of companies are emitting unsustainable levels of CO2 with UPS, Molson Coors and Weyerhaeuser scoring the bottom three spots in the ranking.
The study looked at factors such as emissions output and financial performance (contribution to gross domestic product) to assign a company-level carbon budget and to determine whether a company’s emissions are on track with the reductions called for by the scientific community to limit climate change to 2 degrees and stabilize greenhouse gas emissions. Any company scoring less than or equal to one is considered “sustainable,” while any company scoring greater than one would be considered “unsustainable.”
Of the 49 companies that scored sustainably, 25 grew their revenue as their emissions declined. Climate Counts says this proves that decoupling of growth and emissions is possible, at least in the short term.
The top two companies have histories of using a science-based approach to setting carbon targets, the study says. Since 2009, Autodesk has been applying C-FACT (Corporate Finance Approach to Climate-stabilizing Targets), the company’s open-source methodology tied to IPCC targets for GHG emissions reductions. Additionally, Unilever subsidiary Ben & Jerry’s piloted an early version of the Center for Sustainable Organizations Context-Based Carbon Metric in its 2006 Social & Environmental Assessment Report.
Last year Unilever topped the Climate Counts Company Scorecard ranking of corporate sustainability leaders.