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As climate change concerns mount, companies struggle with carbon targets and data

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In an internal study done by Coca-Cola, the soda giant found that from farm to supermarket fridge, a litre of Coca-Cola creates 346 grams of carbon dioxide emissions.

As climate change concerns mount, companies struggle with carbon targets and data
Amidst extreme weather events and the United Nation’s damning report on climate change, major corporations are under pressure to disclose their greenhouse gas emissions data.
In an internal study done by Coca-Cola, the soda giant found that from farm to supermarket fridge, a litre of Coca-Cola creates 346 grams of carbon dioxide emissions.
Numerous studies like the Carbon Majors Report indicate that a vast majority of emissions can be cut if certain companies change their practices to move away from carbon-based fuel dependence. In fact, many environmental regulators from the US and Europe require public companies to disclose their emissions data, which includes emissions produced by suppliers and customers.
SEC Regulation
The Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) is also involved in a climate change regulation that has the backing of the White House.
“When it comes to disclosure, investors have told us what they want, it’s now time for the commission to take the baton,” said SEC Chairman Gary Gensler in a speech recently.
The SEC maintains that investors should be made aware of the potential risks of global warming to companies. Investors and lenders might stay away from companies that are vulnerable to climate change or aggressively harm the environment.
ESG Grades
It is industry practice to publish environmental data for investors who are interested in environmental, social and governance, or ESG, records. While not all companies comply with requests, rating firms use available data to create ESG grades of the companies.
Currently, the work is in a preliminary stage and ratings from different firms tell different stories. They are inconsistent and require further streamlining for wider use.
In a recent study by the Wall Street Journal, ESG grades of nearly 1500 companies were analyzed. It found that three different rating firms were responsible for the grades but nearly 942 companies i.e. two-thirds of the companies got different grades from different raters. Here are a few companies with varying approaches to disclosing their emission data,
Twitter
Twitter does not disclose its greenhouse gas emissions or have any targets for reducing them but engages in symbolic efforts like removing 70,000 plastic toothbrushes from its offices. They also say that they want to be “good stewards to our planet,” without explaining what that would mean or how it would manifest in action.
Berkshire Hathaway
Similar to Twitter, Berkshire Hathaway did not disclose details about climate-related risks. They had few data points about climate change in their report and without revealing much said, “We strive to achieve net-zero greenhouse gas emissions.”
Microsoft
Microsoft released a 96-page data-heavy report on different kinds of emissions. These include emissions from “energy consumption, transportation, employee commuting and the use and disposal of its products.”
Tesla
Surprisingly, Tesla does not disclose the emission data of the company as a whole. It does provide the life-cycle emissions of a Model-3 car.
 
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