The largest U.S. companies are making progress on their net-zero ambitions, but emissions keep rising, according to As You Sow's 2023 Road to Zero Emissions Report released Nov. 2.
The shareholder advocacy group's latest annual report found 66% of the 100 largest companies are doing better than 2022 on their overall grade. Together, the companies represent a $21 trillion market capitalization across all 11 sectors of the economy. The 2023 scorecard builds on the previous year's look at 55 U.S. companies.
The 2023 grades were less impressive in terms of full-scope emissions disclosures or actions that show progress toward reducing emissions to the point of meeting global goals, the report said.
The companies' overall score is based on three pillars: greenhouse gas emissions disclosure, GHG target setting and GHG reductions. While more companies in general are setting 2050 goals and disclosing full-scope emissions, only six of the 100 companies received an overall grade of A or A- for clear progress on all three pillars: Apple, Nike, Alphabet, Oracle, Colgate-Palmolive and Trane Technologies. Only 14 received a B- or better overall grade, the report said.
In terms of reducing the most significant sources of emissions to meet global goals, only 7% of companies earned an A and "many companies reported emissions going in the wrong direction," said Danielle Fugere, president of As You Sow, in a release on the report.
David Shugar, climate and energy manager at As You Sow, said in the release that investors "are paying increased attention to climate leaders and laggards, especially those companies that fail to address their full range of product and value chain emissions." Given regulatory changes in Europe, Korea and elsewhere pushing companies toward the energy transition, firms lagging on emissions reductions or other climate-related steps "are increasingly questionable value propositions for investors," Shugar said.