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Power Forward 3.0: How the largest U.S. companies are capturing business value while addressing climate change

Power Forward 3.0: How the largest U.S. companies are capturing business value while addressing climate change

Full Title: Power Forward 3.0: How the largest U.S. companies are capturing business value while addressing climate change
Author(s): WWF, Ceres, Calvert, CDP
Publication Date: April 1, 2017
Full Text: Download Resource
Description (excerpt):

The largest companies in the United States are steadily increasing their clean energy and energy efficiency efforts while improving their bottom lines—a trend that is having an important role in the decarbonization of the U.S. electric power sector in recent years. That’s the key finding of our latest Power Forward 3.0 report, which evaluates clean energy data provided publicly by Fortune 500 companies.

Overall, nearly half of the companies in the 2016 Fortune 500 have set targets to reduce greenhouse gases (GHG), improve energy efficiency, and/or increase renewable energy sourcing—up five percentage points from our last report in 2014.

The strongest efforts are among Fortune 100 companies, with 63 percent adopting or retaining goals. In addition to the steady overall increase, the report also shows strong improvement among the smallest 100 companies in the Fortune 500, with 44 percent of these setting goals in one or more categories, up 19 percentage points from 2013. Overall, Consumer Staples sector companies had the highest percentage of companies with targets, while the Energy sector (mostly oil & gas companies) had the lowest percentage by far.

Meanwhile, businesses are reaping bigger and bigger cost savings from energy efficiency projects they have implemented to meet their targets, with 190 companies collectively reporting $3.7 billion in annual savings.

The most significant new trend among the Fortune 500 since the last report is the increasing ambition of goal setting leaders, as more companies move to establish science-based targets and set 100 percent renewable energy goals. A science-based target utilizes the best available climate science to define a company’s appropriate share of the emission reductions required to limit global temperature increases to below two degrees Celsius. As of January 2017, 210 companies from around the world have set or committed to set such targets through the Science Based Targets initiative. 1 Among those are 10 Fortune 500 companies, including Procter & Gamble, General Mills and Kellogg Company. Additionally, 72 Fortune 500 companies (14 percent of the index) have reported to CDP2 and/or the Science Based Targets initiative that they intend to set such a target within two years.

Attracted by plummeting renewable energy costs, nearly two-dozen Fortune 500 companies have committed to power all of their corporate operations with 100 percent renewable energy, mostly wind and solar, compared to only a handful of companies a few years ago. Among the diverse industry giants going all-renewable are Apple, Bank of America, Facebook, Google and Walmart.

Growth in overall target-setting over the past several years has been steady, with a net total of 25 companies in the Fortune 500 adding targets since our last Power Forward 2.03 report was issued in 2014. Forty-eight percent of Fortune 500 companies (240 companies) now have climate and/or energy targets, up five percentage points from the previous report. Companies are also doing well in meeting their respective targets. On average, companies reported an 81 percent success rate in achieving or exceeding their targets on time. This results in real emissions reductions.

All statements and/or propositions in discussion prompts are meant exclusively to stimulate discussion and do not represent the views of, its Partners, Topic Directors or Experts, nor of any individual or organization. Comments by and opinions of Expert participants are their own.

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