Most S&P 500 companies are not disclosing enough information for investors to assess potential risks and business opportunities posed by climate change issues, according to a study commissioned by Ceres and Calvert Funds Group and released today. Of the 500 companies surveyed, 47% answered a questionnaire and they provided 38% of the information requested regarding strategic analysis of climate risk and emissions management, 16% of the emissions data requested, and 12% of regulatory risk information, the study found.
Nearly a third of the respondents declined to publicly release their responses, calling them confidential, the survey found.
The survey's recommendations for corporations included creating better quantitative risk metrics for examining regulatory, competitive and physical risk to improve their understanding of how climate change might affect their business and their ability to capitalize on opportunities from environmental challenges. The survey also suggested companies create climate management teams and develop board oversight of the issues.
For investors, the survey's recommendations included addressing climate risk in investment portfolios by incorporating such analysis when selecting securities and requesting more such disclosure from corporations.
"Many U.S. companies are still downplaying climate change and its far-reaching business impacts," Mindy S. Lubber, president of Ceres, said in a statement about the study. "More extreme weather events, regulatory changes and growing global demand for climate-friendly technologies are just a few of the ways that climate change will ripple across all sectors of the economy. Yet, many U.S. companies are not addressing these trends and are leaving investors in the dark about their strategies for mitigating those risks."