“Climate change is like the Internet — it is never going away.”
— Paul Dickinson, CEO of the Carbon Disclosure Project
Climate of Change Confronts Wall Street
By Stephen Leahy
Sep 24 (IPS) – Stockholders, investors and financial analysts are now demanding to know how climate change will affect companies’ bottom line, and a new report reveals large corporations’ risks and opportunities.
At the behest of institutional investors managing over 41 trillion dollars, several hundred large corporations voluntarily revealed how they are responding to this new reality in a report released Monday at a major event on New York’s Wall Street, where former U.S. President Bill Clinton will also speak.
“Climate change will change the way we do everything,” said Paul Dickinson, CEO of the Carbon Disclosure Project, an independent not-for-profit organisation.
“Nothing will go back to the way things were,” Dickinson told IPS.
The Carbon Disclosure Project (CDP) conducted a survey of 1,300 of world’s largest corporations on behalf of institutional investors and found “a worldwide economic and industrial restructuring” driven by regulatory, policy and business responses to climate change.
The results show that many companies already understand the world is changing and they are looking to find ways to reduce their financial risk and exposure. In general, there is a tremendous shift in government and public spending away from products that have a negative impact on the climate, said Dickinson.
“In Europe, no one wants to buy big cars. Therefore companies with strong hybrid vehicle programmes represent money in the bank for investors,” he said.
Climate change is completely changing how business is being done, and there will be big winners and big losers, Dickinson said.
“Investors are looking for the next Microsoft with the reality of climate change,” he added.
Despite the steadfast opposition of the George W. Bush administration to mandatory action on greenhouse gas emissions, U.S. companies are anticipating an eventual carbon tax, increased requirements for energy efficiency and more pressure to produce products sustainability, he said.
The report reveals that many companies are already redefining competitive advantage and financial performance. Banks and brokerage firms such as JP Morgan have invested 650 million dollars in 26 wind farms in 13 U.S. states. HSBC invested 55 billion dollars in clean technologies, in addition to purchasing 40 percent of its electricity from renewable energy in 2006. Barclays, which provides long-term financing for over 2,600 megawatts of renewable energy projects, purchases 50 percent of its energy in Britain from renewables.
Complete story: Climate of Change Confronts Wall Street