Firms must end ‘vow of silence’ on environmental impact

18 June 2019

A group of global investors has called on firms disclose more information on their environmental impact amid concerns there is not enough transparency.

The group of 88 investors, with nearly $10tn assets, called on global firms to disclose data about their climate change impact, water security and deforestation.

The investors, including HSBC Global Asset Management and Cathay Financial Holdings, were brought together by non-profit CDP (formerly known as the Climate Disclosure Project), which runs a global environmental disclosure platform.

The CDP said its non-disclosure campaign had targeted 707 firms with a combined worth of more than $15tn due to their “high environmental impact and lack of transparency on these issues to date”.

Investors called on the non-disclosing firms to present their environmental impact on CDP’s platform to standardise data and and allow comparisons between companies.

Firms targeted included Amazon, BP and Tesco, spanning a range of industries including manufacturing, retail and fossil fuels.

The US is home to the most companies being targeted in the campaign (20%), closely followed by Australia (16%).

Emily Kreps, global director of investor initiatives at CDP, said: “Companies must disclose their role in addressing the climate crisis we face. We know that climate change, water security and deforestation present material risks to investments, but these risks cannot be managed without proper information.

“While some companies may say they already disclose in their own sustainability reports that is not enough on its own. Investors and the wider market need transparency in the form of consistent, comparable and relevant metrics that are easy to access, compare and benchmark.”

Kreps added the campaign demonstrates that environmental impact is a matter of importance to investors and “the ‘vow of silence’ from non-disclosing companies cannot go on”.

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