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50 of world's top 500 firms worst polluters: Study

NEW DELHI: Fifty of the 500 biggest listed companies in the world account for emission of 3.6 billion metric tonnes, or 73% of the totalgreenhouse gases (GHG), says a report that was released on Thursday. And, these emitters primarily operate in energy, materials and utilities sectors across the globe.

Alarmingly, the companies' emission had risen by 1.65% to 2.54 billion metric tonnes over the past four years, contrary to popular perception that the intervening global recession had reduced carbon footprints of large corporations.

The finding is the part of CDP — formerly known as Carbon Disclosure Project — Global 500 Climate Change Report 2013. CDP, an international NGO that works with market forces including 722 institutional investors, has co-written the report with global services firm 
PricewaterhouseCoopers (PwC).

The report's timing assumes significance when experts from across the globe are lending finishing touches to the 
Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) fifth assessment report that will strengthen the scientific case for climate change action in coming years. The assessment report is likely to come out later this month.

Since emission of GHG significantly contribute to 
global warming, the CDP report may give handle to emerging economies like India, Brazil and Argentina to seek substantial action for reducing emission for developed countries, including the US, Japan and EU nations.

The analysis is based on the climate and energy data of 389 companies listed on the FTSE Global 500 Equity Index — collected by CDP at the request of 722 institutional investors representing $87 trillion in invested capital.

Malcolm Preston, global lead, sustainability and climate change, at PwC, said, "It raises questions for some organisations about whether they are focused on sustaining growth in the long term, or just doing enough to recover growth until the next issue arises.

"With the initial 
IPCC report only weeks away, corporate emissions are still rising. Either business action increases, or the risk is regulation overtakes them," he added.

The Times of India (12-09-2013)