Publication / 18 Jan 2012

State of Green Business 2012

Trucost contibuted environmental performance and disclosure data to the fifth annual State of Green Business Report 2012.

Each year, the UK-based research firm Trucost measures the financial costs of hundreds of environmental impacts of 4,300 of the world’s largest companies, including the 1,600 from 24 countries listed in the MSCI World index. It tracks more than 700 environmental impacts for each and assigns a dollar amount to each impact and for each company.

Using Trucost data, GreenBiz was able to assess changes in company environmental performance across the entire economy. The data showed that the environmental costs associated with companies in the MSCI World Index increased but overall corporate revenue increased even more, meaning that the ratio of emissions to revenue decreased – a seemingly positive sign. But because intensity improved even while total emissions increased, this indicator trend line appears better than it really is. The majority of the impacts lay with just four sectors: utilities, food and beverage, basic resources, and oil and gas.

GreenBiz was also able to use Trucost data to look at the extent to which companies disclosed information about their environmental performance. There is a wide variance in how much companies are actually disclosing, with many disclosing nothing at all. Transparency continues to be of high interest among a growing number of parties, with institutional investors increasingly looking to use this type of information as means of risk mitigation in a world of resource uncertainty and climate concerns. Unfortunately it seems that, after years of improvement, companies’ disclosure of their environmental impacts has flatlined.

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