Climate Change - Thematic Research

Climate Change - Thematic Research

Summary

Climate scientists overwhelmingly agree that the global economy must reach net-zero greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions by 2050 to ward off the catastrophic effects of climate change. Despite this scientific consensus, and despite broad agreement that climate change will disrupt every sector of the global economy, governmental action has not been sufficient to establish a path to net zero.

Instead, non-governmental organizations and the private sector are stepping in, launching decarbonization initiatives that are driving down GHG emissions in virtually every industry and region of the globe.

Key Highlights

  • There is not yet enough transparency or accountability for the feedback loop to be fully effective. It requires more transparency so that all key stakeholders - consumers, partners, employees, and investors - can make informed decisions about which companies to support. It requires more accountability so that companies are held to their climate promises, and false claims - greenwashing - are exposed. If these are in place, it will be easier for all stakeholders to participate.
  • Likely winners in the energy transition include consumer-facing industries and those with the flexibility to shift business models away from climate disruption. They include automotive, retail, media, banking, insurance, and technology.
  • Facing greater, even existential, challenges will be industries that are far behind in the transition away from carbon or that cannot escape climate disruption. They include oil and gas, coal, chemicals, real estate, pharmaceuticals, construction, and agriculture.
  • Every company must recognize that the science is clear, and the need for climate action will only increase. It’s an “all hands on deck” moment that calls for an “all of the above” approach - regulation, voluntary action, technology innovation, and self-interested action by companies seeking competitive advantage as they balance near-term and long-term business strategies. Inaction is not an option.


  • Scope
    • GlobalData’s research on climate change and its impact on business is one facet of a broader stream of research on sustainability and sustainable business practices.
    • This report focuses on climate change because of its singular importance. Climate change is existential. It is already disrupting many natural systems, accelerating wildfires, sea-level rise, and coastal flooding, extreme storms, and human dislocation.
    • The report contains analysis of the forces driving climate change action, and introduces GlobalData's climate action feedback loop. This rewards and reinforces corporate climate action, prompting more of it.
    • There is discussion of the three main climate action strategies: emissions reduction, carbon capture and storage, and carbon offsets.
    • The report discuss climate action strategies and methods in use across various sectors of the global economy. It highlights the actions of more than 120 companies across eight sectors.
    Reasons to Buy
    • Read our Climate Change report to understand why hundreds of companies have already made commitments to reach net-zero by 2050, with more than 100 committing to a 2040 target.
    • We expect that the pace of commitments will increase as early movers demonstrate that decarbonization is possible and that it brings market rewards sufficient to draw more participation and accelerate the climate action feedback loop.


    • Executive summary
    • GlobalData's ESG framework
      • Three pillars - E, S, and G - help companies set strategy
        • Table Figure 1: GlobalData's ESG framework
        • Environmental contributing factors and mitigating actions
          • Table Figure 2: Within the environmental pillar, we identify four main topics, and within each topic, a set of contributing
      • Climate change is the existential issue
        • Table Figure 3: Average global temperatures have risen steadily over the last several decades
    • The forces driving climate change action
      • The Paris Agreement is key to halting climate change
        • The US government is once again addressing climate change
          • Table Figure 4: Carbon dioxide (CO.) and methane (CH4) have contributed the most to global warming
        • Five years on from the Paris Agreement, net zero is not in sight
          • Table Figure 5: The world is not on track to limit greenhouse gas emissions enough to hold global warming below 2°C
        • COVID-19: Will the recovery be green?
      • Market mechanisms are driving the climate action feedback loop
        • The shift from shareholders to stakeholders
        • Interlocking forces create the climate action feedback loop
          • Table Figure 6: All stakeholders are pushing in the same direction - demanding action on climate change
      • SBTi, a science-based program, is driving climate progress
        • How SBTi targets are set
        • SBTi participation benefits both companies and stakeholders
        • Participation in SBTi is accelerating and producing results
        • There are areas where SBTi could be strengthened
      • The Climate Pledge is becoming a powerful force
      • Asset managers help drive the feedback loop
      • Disclosure requirements are still too complex
        • Table Companies face complexity in deciding which of many emissions reporting frameworks to use
        • Table Figure 7: The drive for disclosure has led to confusion and created a burden for business
      • Though not yet mature, the feedback loop is working
    • Three main climate action strategies
      • Emissions reduction
        • Table Figure 8: The cost of renewable energy, especially solar photovoltaic, has plummeted since 2009
      • Carbon capture and storage
      • Carbon offsets
    • Timeline
      • Table Figure 9: Major milestones in world awareness of - and response to - climate change
    • Companies
      • Across sectors, businesses make strides on climate
      • Healthcare
        • Medical devices
          • Table Medical devices
        • Pharmaceuticals
          • Table Pharmaceuticals
      • Technology, media, and telecoms
        • Technology
          • Table Technology
          • Table IT services
        • Media
          • Table Media
        • Telecoms
          • Table Telecoms
      • Consumer
        • Apparel
          • Table Apparel
        • Consumer goods
          • Table Consumer goods
        • Food and beverage
          • Table Food and beverage
        • Packaging
          • Table Packaging
        • Retail
          • Table Retail
        • Travel and tourism
          • Table Travel and tourism
        • Airlines
          • Table Airlines
      • Industrials
        • Aerospace
          • Table Aerospace
        • Automotive
          • Table Automotive
        • Chemicals
          • Table Chemicals
      • Materials and resources
        • Construction
          • Table Construction
        • Mining
          • Table Mining
        • Agriculture
          • Table Agriculture
      • Energy
        • Oil and gas
          • Table Oil and gas
        • Power
          • Table Power
      • Financial services
        • Payments
          • Table Payments
        • Banking
          • Table Banking
        • Insurance
          • Table Insurance
        • Real estate
          • Table Real estate
      • Professional services
        • Management consulting
          • Table Management consulting
        • Accountancy and law
          • Table Accountancy and law
    • Appendix: Countries with net-zero commitments
      • Table Appendix: Countries with net-zero commitments
    • Glossary
      • Table Glossary
    • Further reading
      • GlobalData reports
        • Table GlobalData reports
    • Our thematic research methodology
      • Table Figure 10: Our five-step approach for generating a sector scorecard
    • About GlobalData
    • Contact Us

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