Rise in Irish companies reporting environmental emissions

By Business & Finance
24 February 2023

A growing number of Irish companies are setting externally verified climate emissions targets and choosing to disclose their performance, according to CDP Ireland Network. 

CDP Ireland Network’s ‘Climate Change Report 2022,’ shows a total of 384 companies reported to the CDP Climate Change programme that are either headquartered or operating in Ireland – an increase of 25%. This includes a total of 87 Irish companies, an increase of 58% from 2021. 

Two Irish companies, Accenture and Trane Technologies, scored high enough to achieve a place on the CDP A List alongside 290 other companies worldwide. This was the first time Irish companies appeared on the top-ranked list since 2020.  

Eleven other Irish companies were ranked in the leadership category A- by CDP including AIB, Hibernia REG, An Post, Kingspan, Kerry Group, CRH, Cairn Homes and Smurfit Kappa. 

A total of 32 new Irish companies reported to the CDP Climate Change programme. This included leading industry organisations such as the NTMA, Ornua, CPL Resources, Glen Dimplex, Version 1, Energia and EirGrid. 

The report shows that Irish companies generally performed well compared to other regions. 24% of Irish companies achieved an A- or higher in 2022. This compared to 21% globally. CDP rewards reporting companies for taking measurable action. In 2022 there were a total of 33 companies in Ireland with an approved science-based target, while an additional 33 committed to setting one. However, CDP is quick to point out that the focus of its scoring will increasingly move from target setting to implementation over the next few years.

The report shows that 70% of Irish responding companies now provide 3rd party verification of their emissions, up from 66% last year. A total of 49% of responding companies have a climate transition plan, with two-thirds of these plans published externally. 

The increasing willingness of companies to participate in CDP reporting is a recognition that investors, customers and employees have high expectations of the level of disclosure and transparency they receive on environmental factors. 

…the fact remains that we are still decarbonising at a slower rate than what is required for us to avoid an irreversible climate crisis. Ambition is important, but action is critical.

CDP sent a request to 57 Irish companies for their climate change information on behalf of investors, of which 39 responded. This means that 48 Irish companies voluntarily completed a climate change response, a positive trend.

Companies are scored based on CDP’s transparent scoring methodology covering comprehensive disclosure of environmental impacts, risks, opportunities, governance and actions; awareness of environmental risks and how they relate to their business; demonstrating management of these environmental risks and evidence of best practice associated with environmental leadership and target setting.

CDP measures the environmental impact of companies on behalf of 680 leading global investors representing US$130 trillion in assets.  Over 18,700 companies with over 60% of global market capitalisation disclosed environmental data through CDP in 2022, an increase of 36% in 2021. 

Companies looking to improve their performance in their CDP ranking can particularly do so by making commitments to reducing carbon emissions through the Science Based Targets Initiative (SBTi). This sees companies set targets in line with the level of decarbonisation required to maintain global temperature increases well below 2 degrees, or increasingly 1.5 degrees Celsius, and consistent with internationally set goals.  

Commenting on the publication of the report,  Eoin Fahy, Chairman of CDP Ireland Network said: I am pleased to report that the number of companies reporting to CDP rose once again. Reporting to CDP is of course the absolute minimum first step that companies should take to demonstrate to their stakeholders – their investors, their staff, and their customers – that they are taking their responsibilities seriously.

“Importantly, an increasing number of companies are putting scientifically verified Net Zero targets in place. To be properly verified, these targets must have specific plans for how Net Zero is to be achieved – a vague aspiration to get to Net Zero in thirty or forty years, is not in any way credible unless backed up by concrete proposals on how that will be achieved.”

Brian O’Kennedy Executive Director, CDP Ireland Network, said: “We welcome this very positive trend of increasing climate disclosure. However, the fact remains that we are still decarbonising at a slower rate than what is required for us to avoid an irreversible climate crisis. CDP will expect companies to present far more concrete climate transition plans in the short term. Ambition is important, but action is critical.”

The CDP Ireland Annual Report 2022 launched on Thursday, February 23 at the National Treasury Management Agency. The 2022 report can be found on the CDP Ireland Network website, and the full list of 2022 CDP scores is available here on the site.

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