Retailer Marks & Spencer (M&S) topped the sustainability reporting rankings from Carbon Clear that this year covered companies from the major French index, the CAC 40, as well as the Spanish index, the IBEX 35, and the FTSE 100.
The survey, which took an in-depth look at a number of key sustainability reporting areas across sectors as well as indices, found that has been an overall improvement in scores compared with last year. The research found that top scoring FTSE 100 companies, when compared like for like with the IBEX 35, perform better in percentage scores and have closer scores than companies on the Spanish index. Infrastructure and renewable energy company Acciona was the top scoring Spanish company while Schneider Electric, an energy management and automation specialist was the top French company.
The research found that while France has the toughest legislation in respect of sustainability the UK and Spanish top companies had higher scores (M&S scored 90%, Acciona 89% compared with Schneider Electric’s 79%). The survey found that there was less variation in the scores of the French companies – which the authors suggested was due to the firms responding to the requirements of national legislation and not necessarily pushing the boundaries of best practice. However, it meant that the CAC 40 had a higher average score (60%) than the IBEX 35 (56%) and the FTSE 100 (47%).
The number of FTSE 100 companies that assessed supply chain risk more than doubled in 2017 to 50 compared with 24 in 2016. However, CAC companies are making more progress on this with 60% of companies examining and reporting assessments of adaptations in the value chain. In the IBEX 35, 14% of companies assess supply chain risks.
In the FTSE 100, the number of companies that mentioned climate change in the risk section of their annual reports rose to 39% of companies compared to 23% in 2016. The IBEX 35 also had an increase in businesses stating climate risk in their company reports – 57% up from 37% in 2016. However, again CAC 40 companies are performing better with 85% of companies acknowledging climate change as a business risk.
In respect of carbon reduction targets, the survey found that 83% of CAC 40 companies set reduction targets compared to 70% in the FTSE 100 and 63% of IBEX 35 companies. There were 11 companies across the indices that set science-based targets (eight in the FTSE 100, two in the CAC 40 and one in the IBEX 35).
The report notes that the French electricity grid is one of the least carbon-intensive in the world, due to the large share of nuclear energy power generation in the national energy mix. This appears to have led to a low level of commitment to purchasing 100% renewable energy compared with other markets.
The survey found that more than half (54%) of the IBEX 35 buy renewable energy, an increase of 11% compared to 2016. Three companies have committed to RE100 and are already 100% renewable and another seven have plans to increase the amount of renewable energy consumption.
The number of FTSE 100 companies generating power through onsite renewable technologies continues to increase year on year (52% 2017, 48% 2016, 41% 2015). The report found a reduction in the number of companies purchasing renewable electricity from 48% in 2016 to 32% in 2017. However, Carbon Clear had tightened its criteria with only renewables backed by a verified green tariff, power purchase agreement or RECs/REGOs scoring points. In tandem, few companies mention the RE100 initiative within their reports, although 36 FTSE 100 companies have committed to using 100% renewable energy in the future and 7 already do so.
Last Updated: 29 September 2017