Nearly half of the companies engaging with investors through Climate Action 100 Plus have committed to reaching net-zero emissions no later than 2050 or sooner, the organization said in a progress report released Thursday.
The Climate Action 100 Plus initiative has 545 investor signatories with a collective $52 trillion in assets under management.
The progress report looks at the sector level of 167 companies engaged by investors through Climate Action 100 Plus, including 100 of the world's largest corporate greenhouse gas emitters and others that are critical to accelerating the transition to net-zero emissions.
The latest progress report also highlights coverage gaps for companies. The organization will report company-level progress under a recently announced net-zero company benchmark in the first quarter 2021.
The first progress report issued a year ago found that among the 161 focus companies, 70% had set long-term emissions reduction targets, but only 9% were in line with minimum goals of the Paris Agreement, and 77% had defined board level responsibility for climate change.
Anne Simpson, a Climate Action 100 Plus global steering committee member and managing investment director of board governance and sustainability for the $430.5 billion California Public Employees' Retirement System, Sacramento, described the drive to net zero as being "in the foothills of a long climb."
"Tackling the world's systemically important carbon emitters is ambitious and necessary. It requires partnership from all sides: investors, companies, policymakers, and civil society. The results from Climate Action 100 Plus show what can be achieved, and what still lies ahead, for us to drive the transition to net zero by 2050," Ms. Simpson said in the release.
A separate report released Thursday by Farient Advisors, an independent compensation and corporate governance consulting firm, found that 2 out of 3 companies around the world tied executive compensation to stakeholders' ESG interests in 2020.
The report 2021 and Beyond: Global Trends in Stakeholder Incentives, is a combination of data, interviews and analysis of how companies addressed stakeholder issues across five continents and multiple industries in this past year.
It found that 67% of companies worldwide now apply ESG in their incentive plans, with those in Australia leading the trend at 81% and the U.S. at the lowest level at 56%. While most applications were short-term, ESG measures are starting to appear in long-term incentives, it found.
The most prevalent measures in 2020, for 61% of the companies, were those on diversity, employee engagement and health and safety, the report found.