February 27, 2020

The largest Danish companies are struggling to fully commit to the green transition

Recently, the Danish financial newspaper, Finans, published an article on how the largest Danish companies have begun reporting on their emissions while still grappling with how to fully integrate their climate efforts into their corporate strategies. As the article is in Danish, we’ve translated and paraphrased its contents below. Follow the link to the original article here.

Inconsistent reporting is unproductive
While the Danish companies are making some progress in relation to reducing their CO2 emissions, the way in which they account for the emissions is still not consistent or complete. When the information regarding companies’ efforts on the climate vary from company to company – are they including scope 1, 2, or 3? Do they include offsets in their calculations? – the outcome is unproductive to both investors and the general public. Anyone working in this field knows that this is not easy, but it needs to get better if we want to appropriately assess our progress.

Partner in Nordic Sustainability, Sven Beyersdorff, gave his view on the status quo of companies beginning to engage with climate targets: “It’s an interesting time in which we’re seeing that companies are committing themselves to setting targets despite not having clear strategies to work from. What we are often asking the companies is whether they are actually prepared to profoundly change their business instead of merely scratching the surface. We experience that often a full commitment to real change is hard to come by.”

On a positive note, companies have increased their focus on the climate and the environment significantly. What is needed now in order to create tangible progress is increased demand and requirements from investors and consumers.

Creating the right incentives will be paramount
Steven Teppe, CEO of CDP which, on behalf of investors, collects climate data from more than 8.000 companies worldwide, says [paraphrased]: “On a general note, I wouldn’t assume that business leaders are changing their companies for ethical reasons. We will have to create a market with all the right incentives to force companies to own up to their responsibility for negatively impacting the environment.”

Overall, the numbers seem to speak for themselves: A survey by the accountants’ trade association, FSR, shows that only 48 of the country’s 100 largest companies provide information on CO2 emissions. A survey from Børsen last fall showed that a third of the country’s 50 largest companies do not have clear climate targets.

The article can be found here in Danish.