Are Businesses Ready for Global Warming?

As the threat of global warming is constantly increasing the environmental impact, non-profit charity the Carbon Disclosure Project (CDP) has named over 150 companies as pioneers for action on climate change, water usage and deforestation. The non-profit scored over 6,800 companies from A to D, with only the top 2% making the positive A-List.

Unilever came top of the list, thanks to big changes to its output, including the purchase of Seventh Generation in 2016, a company which markets environmentally friendly household products, and a suite of low-carbon brands that account for a big slice of their revenue.

L’Oreal came a close second, as the makeup giant most protected from physical climate risks, scoring high marks for its renewable energy programme. L’Oreal has been awarded the title of Global Leader in Corporate Sustainability by CDP, achieving a place on the A-List for climate change, water security and forest protection – all three environmental themes covered by CDP scores. L’Oreal is one of the two companies to score an A for all three of CDP’s criteria. This is in recognition of its impressive actions in the last year to mitigate climate risks by tackling and preventing deforestation in its supply chain as well as enhancing water stewardship and preventing water waste during production in an attempt to lead the way towards a new sustainable economy.

Jean-Paul Agon, Chairman and CEO of L’Oréal said: “Sustainability drives our research, our innovation and our operations in exciting ways and reinforces our commitment to our employees and the communities in which we operate.” His statement emphasises L’Oréal’s commitment to sustainability and future-proofing their business to supply sustainably sourced products to the communities that demand them. Although the CDP award has recognised L’Oréal as a global leader in preparing for a sustainable economy, what does this award really mean? The Carbon Disclosure Project assesses businesses on the comprehensiveness of their disclosure, their awareness and management of environmental risks and their demonstration of best practices associated with environmental leadership, such as setting ambitious and meaningful targets.

Other consumer goods companies which scored well, namely Unilever, believe that business growth should not be at the expense of people and the planet, and so have implemented their own sustainable living plan, which was launched in 2010. Their three main goals are clear: firstly, supply products which improve the health and wellbeing of more than 1 billion people. Secondly, reduce environmental impact by 50% by reviewing greenhouse gas emissions and ensuring sustainably sourced packaging and ingredients. Thirdly, enhance livelihoods for millions, through workplace fairness promoting opportunities for women and inclusive business practices.

The company now has 26 sustainable brands, which has increased significantly from 18 in 2016. New brands include Vaseline, Sunsilk and Wall’s. Over the last four years sustainable living brands have outperformed the average rate of growth at Unilever. In 2017 sustainable living brands grew 46% faster than the rest of the business and delivered 70% of Unilever’s turnover growth. So, it seems that green businesses are better for the bank and for the Earth. Hopefully this trend will continue in order to reduce the negative effects of business on our planet.