Report: Almost half of Fortune 500 companies have climate, energy goals
- A new report highlights growing interest from large corporations in energy efficiency and clean power, concluding that almost half of the Fortune 500 companies have set energy or conservation goals.
- The report, Power Forward 2.0, found 48% of the companies have energy targets, up 5% from a 2014 survey. And the trend is more apparent for the largest companies: 63% of Fortune 100 companies have set one or more clean energy goals.
- Corporations are increasingly taking a leadership position on conservation and efficiency. This week, more than 1,000 businesses and organizations urged Congress to defend the Energy Star labeling initiative against budget cuts at the Environmental Protection Agency.
As the price tag of clean energy falls and consumers place a greater emphasis on conservation, large corporations are stepping up to set goals, reduce their usage and even develop renewable projects themselves.
A new report from WWF, Calvert Investments, CDP and Ceres found almost 80,000 emission-reducing projects by 190 Fortune 500 companies. And the reporting data showed those projects resulted in nearly $3.7 billion in savings just last year, with annual emission reductions equivalent to taking 45 coal-fired power plants offline.
"The largest companies in the United States are steadily increasing their clean energy and energy efficiency efforts while improving their bottom lines," according to the report. And that trend is "having an important role in the decarbonization of the U.S. electric power sector."
Across the Fortune 500, greenhouse gas targets are the most common goal: More than 40% of companies have either an absolute or intensity-based emissions reduction target.
The consumer staples sector is where most companies (72%) have set targets, followed by materials (66%), utilities (65%) and industrials (62%).
Companies are increasingly viewing clean energy as a way to boost profits, along with sustainability. Among the companies petitioning Congress this week to help save the Energy Star program were United Technologies Corp., parent company of Carrier and other brands, Seattle City Light, and A.O. Smith, the largest manufacturer of residential and commercial water heaters in North America.
The White House's proposed budget eliminates funding for Energy Star, a voluntary labeling program with an annual budget of about $50 million.
Follow Robert Walton on Twitter