PwC / CDP 2013 : Path to low carbon business “likely to be littered with awkward compromises and trade offs” on growth, environment and communities

Published at 09:35 AM on 12 September 2013

PwC comment on the CDP Global 500 Report 2013  

PwC’s Jonathan Grant, director, PwC sustainability and climate change and a specialist in climate policy and carbon emissions, comments on the results of the CDP Global 500 Climate Change report 2013 released today.

The report, co-written by PwC and CDP provides the most comprehensive analysis of corporate progress on climate change. The results underline the concerns of a lack of progress on breaking the link between rising emissions and economic growth. Key findings include

  • Total Scope 1 & 2 emissions have fallen, but the largest 50 emitters, which account for 73% of 2013’s total, have increased again
  • The 50 largest emitters have increased their emissions since 2009, as a slow economic recovery has gathered pace
  • Current reporting of indirect emissions in company supply chains is incomplete and does not reveal the full impact of company operations
  • 80% of responding companies are providing financial incentives for employees, particularly at board level to drive emissions reductions


“Everyone’s pushing for growth but the report shows few signs that companies are going far enough, or fast enough to decouple this growth from their carbon emissions.”

 “We’re weeks away from the publication of the most comprehensive report on the science of climate change.  Although companies are also comprehensive, transparent and sophisticated about their planning and reporting on climate change, the emissions from the largest companies continue to rise.”


“Governments, investors, customers and communities are making different, often contradictory, demands of business.  We want affordable, profitable, reliable, low impact and low impact growth.  It’s clear from company responses that current financial models aren’t set up to deal with these contradictions so companies struggle to make difficult trade-offs.

“The early days of the journey down a low carbon pathway are likely to be littered with awkward compromises between growth, the environment and communities.

“Being able to measure, understand and compare the trade-offs between different options means decisions can be made with more complete knowledge of the overall impact they will have.  It will also give us a better understanding of which stakeholders will be affected by which decisions.  The significant gaps in the supply chain on reporting on emissions remain a concern and may mask a host of issues with reducing the overall emissions linked to economic output.”


“The utilities sector illustrates the choice facing companies in managing their emissions - either decrease emissions or risk heavy handed regulation.  They're facing tough regulatory targets but are also engaging with policy makers and consumers. By providing energy efficiency products and services they are helping consumers reduce their impact, as well as creating new business opportunities for their sector."

Download The CDP Global 500 Report

For further comment please contact:

Rowena Mearley
PwC | Senior Manager - Media Relations
Sustainable Development & Climate Change | Renewables
Direct: +44 (0)20 7 213 4727 | Mobile: +44 (0)7841 563 180
PwC Media Centre

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