External Business and Climate Reports

The following reports focus on some of the key issues confronting businesses as they address the climate change challenge. The reports (all pdfs) were produced by companies, investment firms and other non-governmental organzations and do not necessarily reflect the views of the Center.

The following reports are from other nongovernmental organizations and companies and are organized under seven categories:

Corporate Governance

Ceres: Corporate Governance and Climate Change: Consumer and Technology Companies (December 2008). This Ceres report is the first comprehensive assessment of how 63 of the world’s largest consumer and information technology companies are preparing themselves to face this colossal challenge. The report employs a “Climate Change Governance Framework” to evaluate how 48 US companies and 15 non-US companies are addressing climate change through board oversight, management execution, public disclosure, GHG emissions accounting and strategic planning and performance.

Ceres: Corporate Governance and Climate Change: The Banking Sector (January 2008). This report is the first comprehensive assessment of how 40 of the world’s largest banks are preparing themselves to face the colossal challenge posed by climate change. It pays particular attention to how corporate executives and board directors are addressing the governance systems that will be needed to minimize climate risks while maximizing investments in solutions that mitigate and help society adapt to climate change.

Ceres: Corporate Governance and Climate Change, Making the Connection (March 2006). In this report, Ceres surveys 100 of the world's largest companies in 10 industry sectors and uses a "Climate Change Governance Checklist" to evaluate how these companies are addressing the issue.

Carbon Disclosure Project: CDP4 (2006). The Carbon Disclosure Project is a forum used by institutional investors to request information on greenhouse gas emissions from some of the world's largest companies. This report, the fourth in a continuing series, contains data on individual company's CO2 emissions and mitigation plans, and also includes analyses of new climate developments.

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Corporate Strategies


Deloitte & Touche LLP: The Risk Intelligent Energy Company: Weathering the Storm of Climate Change (October 2007). The energy industry has always dealt with risk. However, when the scope, complexity, and interdependency of risk factors increase, or when an emerging risk simultaneously presents significant opportunities, more comprehensive and integrated approaches are necessary. This Deloitte & Touche LLP paper provides insight into identifying key climate change risks, discusses how a Risk Intelligent approach to Enterprise Risk Management helps to manage these risks, and offers guidance on how to adapt business models to the implications of climate change.

Harvard Business Review: Competitive Advantage on a Warming Planet (March 2007). This article by Jonathan Lash and Fred Wellington of the World Resources Institute argues that companies that manage and mitigate their exposure to the risks associated with climate change while seeking new opportunities for profit will generate a competitive advantage over rivals in a carbon-constrained future. This article offers a systematic approach to mapping and responding to climate change risks. (Please note: clicking on the link above will take you to HBR’s download center where you can purchase the article for $6).

The Climate Group: Carbon Down, Profits Up (2007). The Climate Group, an international non-governmental organization, in the third edition of its "Carbon Down, Profits Up" report, describes actions taken by many companies to reduce greenhouse gas emissions. The report also highlights the advantages gained by firms that take early action to address climate change.

Business for Social Responsibility: Offsetting Emissions: A Business Brief on the Voluntary Carbon Market (December 2006). This report from Business for Social Responsibility is intended for companies considering the purchase of voluntary offsets for their greenhouse gas emissions. It offers clear steps that guide early assessments and enable corporate decision makers to become educated consumers within voluntary carbon markets.

Ceres and the Investor Network on Climate Risk: Managing the Risks and Opportunities of Climate Change: A Practical Toolkit for Corporate Leaders (January 2006). This Ceres toolkit provides a guide for corporations interested in developing climate strategies. It lists a series of steps corporations should take and includes case studies of companies that have successfully established such strategies.

California Management Review: Climate Change Strategy: The Business Logic Behind Voluntary Greenhouse Gas Reductions (2005). Many companies are taking advantage of the lack of a mandatory U.S. GHG emission reduction program to set targets at their own pace and in ways that complement their own strategic objectives, writes Dr. Andrew Hoffman of the University of Michigan in this California Management Review (CMR) article. They are doing so in order to prepare for the long term should GHG emission reductions become mandatory, while at the same time attempting to reap near-term economic and strategic benefits should new regulations not emerge. (Please note: clicking on the link above will take you to CMR's download center where you will be given the option of purchasing the article.)

Business RoundtableEvery Sector, One Resolve (September 2004). This is a progress report on BRT's Climate RESOLVE program, which is a multi-sector, CEO-led initiative to promote voluntary action to reduce the GHG intensity of the U.S. economy. BRT reports that as of July 1, 2004, 107 companies were taking action to reduce their emissions under the RESOLVE program.

Harvard Business Review: Winning the Greenhouse Gas Game (April 2004). Companies voluntarily reducing their greenhouse gases are helping to shape the governmental regulations that are coming soon. Dr. Andrew Hoffman of the University of Michigan and author of C2ES report "Getting Ahead of the Curve: Corporate Strategies That Address Climate Change" writes in this Harvard Business Review (HBR) article that if companies do not act now, they will find their competitors will write the rules for them. (Please note: clicking on the link above will take you to HBR's download center where you will be given the option of purchasing the article.)

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Ceres: From Risk to Opportunity 2008: Insurer Responses to Climate Change (April 2009). Hundreds of new insurance initiatives, including coverage for green buildings, renewable energy, carbon risk management, and officers’ liability are being offered to tackle climate change and rising weather-related losses in the U.S. and globally, according to this report by the Ceres investor coalition.

Swiss Re: The Economic Justification for Imposing Restraints on Carbon Emissions (August 2007). This insights report discusses why government intervention is needed to impose restraints on carbon emissions and why an international policy is necessary. According to the authors, cap-and-trade policy is likely to be the most successful way of reducing carbon emissions. The report examines the economic reasons for government intervention, as well as mitigation policy options and issues.

Marsh: A Change in the Weather (January 2007). This article from insurance services company Marsh looks at the unique legal and regulatory risks climate change poses to companies. It also examines the fact that corporate behavior is being scrutinized more closely by shareholder activists.

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Trucost: Carbon Counts US: The Carbon Footprints of Mutual Funds in the US (April 2009). Trucost’s analysis of 91 US mutual funds, with a combined value of $1,551,067 million, reveals a wide variation in carbon footprints. The highest carbon fund is found to be 38 times more carbon intensive than the lowest. The research covers 75 of the largest equity funds and 16 major sustainability/SRI funds, and examines greenhouse gas emissions associated with eight investment styles. The study highlights opportunities to manage fund carbon risk as climate change regulations are introduced.

Standard & Poor's: CreditWeek Special Issue: The Credit Impact of Climate Change (May 2007). Features of this S&P special report on the credit impact of climate change include the varied credit effects of a portfolio approach to coping with climate change, the costs of potential regulatory compliance and their effect on U.S. utility credit, and the impact of stringent environmental legislation on the world's automakers.

New Energy Finance: Global Clean Energy Investment Overview (September 2006). In this report, New Energy Finance, a financial services firm that specializes in low-carbon energy, analyzes the latest trends in clean energy investing. Investment in renewable energy and low-carbon technologies has more than doubled over the last two years, according to the report.


World Wildlife Fund and the Allianz Group: Climate Change and the Financial Sector: An Agenda for Action (June 2005). WWF and the Allianz Group -- a financial services firm -- teamed to produce this report, which identifies risks for the financial community arising from climate change and provides recommendations for how the sector can turn these risks into opportunities. Special attention is paid to financing low-carbon energy projects.

Goldman Sachs: Energy, Environmental and Social Index (February 2004). This report identifies specific environmental and social issues likely to be material for company competitiveness and reputation in the oil and gas industy, and attempts to quantify their potential impact on stock prices. Goldman Sachs concludes that BP and Royal Dutch Shell stand out for their environmental and social track record compared to their industry peers.

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Investor Resources

Ceres: Mutual Fund Industry Opposition to Climate Change Resolutions Begins to Thaw (April 2008). The mutual fund industry’s previously apprehensive attitude toward climate change shareholder resolutions is beginning to change as Wall Street starts to recognize the financial risks and opportunities of global climate change. This report analyzes the 2004-2007 voting records of 1,285 funds of 62 leading mutual fund firms, which illustrate that historic opposition toward such resolutions is softening. Some fund firms support many climate resolutions outright, and others abstain on most or all resolutions after opposing them in the past. Still, many mutual funds are acting inconsistently on climate change -- offering new climate-related funds and research products while continuing to oppose virtually all climate-related resolutions.

Goldman Sachs: Capital Markets at the Crossroads (September 2006). In this presentation to the Clinton Global Initiative, Goldman Sachs says that an “Eco-Efficiency Premium” may now be increasing as more investors focus on environmental characteristics when making investment decisions. Goldman Sachs also believes that opportunities in climate change and investing will continue to grow.

Goldman Sachs: Environmental Portfolio Strategy (August 2005). This paper provides a primer on socially responsible investing (SRI), with a particular focus on the investment implications of climate change. Goldman Sachs argues that climate change is an issue that all investors should consider, not just those interested in the SRI market.

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Clean Technology and Low Carbon Economy

ACEEE: The Size of the U.S. Energy Efficiency Market: Generating a More Complete Picture (May 2008). This report frames energy efficiency as an invisible powerhouse and an underappreciated investment opportunity. ACEEE seeks to quantify the size and scope of current investments in energy efficiency technologies both in terms of dollars invested and labor employed. The core question driving the current assessment is “How Big Is Energy Efficiency in the U.S.?” Despite the many obstacles and challenges, the authors develop estimates of current spending on efficiency and discuss how those investments compare to annual investments in conventional energy supply. The results suggest that the U.S. is not aware of the role that energy efficiency has played in satisfying our growing energy service demands. (Registration is required to view the full report.)

McKinsey & Company: Reducing U.S. Greenhouse Gas Emissions: How Much at What Cost (December 2007). McKinsey & Co. worked with leading companies, industry experts, academics, and NGOs to develop a detailed, consistent fact base estimating costs and potentials of different options to reduce or prevent GHG emissions within the United States over a 25-year period. The study finds that the U.S. could reduce GHG emissions in 2030 by 3.0 to 4.5 gt of CO2e using tested approaches and high-potential emerging technologies. These reductions would involve pursuing a wide array of abatement options with marginal costs less than $50 per ton. Further information can be found at McKinsey's Climate Change Special Initiative.

Appollo’s Fire: Igniting America’s Clean Energy Economy (March 2007). This Web site, established by Congressman Jay Inslee and Bracken Hendricks, a senior fellow at the Center for American Progress, contains stories from businesspeople, engineers and others, who are working to advance the clean energy economy. Visitors to the site can submit their own stories about how they are promoting clean energy and helping fight global warming.

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Sector-Specific Resources

World Business Council for Sustainable Development (WBCSD): Water, Energy and Climate Change (March 2009). This report makes the case for collaborating on solutions for climate change, energy and water, making the case that the problems are naturally linked, and that solutions should also be connected. 

Carbon Disclosure Project: CDP Supply Chain Report 2009 (March 2009). This CDP report presents the results of an initiative aimed at identifying and addressing opportunities to reduce emissions of greenhouse gases in the supply chain.

World Business Council for Sustainable Development (WBCSD): Energy Efficiency in Buildings: Business Realities and Opportunities (August 2007). This WBCSD report summarizes the first year’s work of the Energy Efficiency in Buildings (EEB) project co-chaired by Lafarge and United Technologies Corporation. It presents a picture of the challenge of energy use in buildings and a preliminary, high-level approach to addressing that challenge.

Harvard Business Review: Building the Green Way (June 2006). Well designed green buildings yield lower utility costs, greater employee productivity, less absenteeism, and stronger attraction and retention of workers than standard buildings do. So building green is no longer a pricey experiment; just about any company can do it on a standard budget by following the 10 rules outlined by author Charles Lockwood, in this Harvard Business Review (HBR) article. (Please note: clicking on the link above will take you to HBR's download center where you will be given the option of purchasing the article.)

World Resources Institute: Hot Climate, Cool Commerce: A Service Sector Guide to Greenhouse Gas Management (2006). This report offers a step-by-step approach for service sector companies that want to reduce their greenhouse gas emissions. It includes information on quantifying emissions and offers recommendations on how to reduce those emissions.

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