Carbon Management Still a Priority Despite Recession, Report Finds

OAKLAND, CA — The vast majority of multinational companies are pushing ahead with developing and implementing carbon management strategies despite a steep global recession that sent financial markets into a tailspin and took a toll on corporate balance sheets, a new report has found.

Yet company progress is often a reflection of regionality, with North American companies lagging their Australian and European counterparts in assessing their carbon footprints and devising ways to reduce them, according to the “Carbon Management and Offsetting Trends Survey Report 2009,” a study from EcoSecurities, ClimateBiz and Baker & McKenzie LLP.

Based on responses by more than 300 global companies, the report offers a snapshot of global corporate attitudes toward the voluntary carbon market and the role of carbon offsets within larger carbon management strategies. It follows the inaugural “Carbon Offsetting Trends Survey 2008,” which was among the first to probe the buyer’s perspective of the voluntary carbon market.

An average of 60 percent of companies in this year’s survey have taken stock of their greenhouse gas inventories, with more than three-quarters (76 percent) devising or executing carbon management strategies, which also include energy efficiency, waste reduction and recycling initiatives. Carbon offsets play a key role in these plans, with more than two-thirds reporting they have already bought offsets in the past, or expressed their intention of doing so before 2012.

Nearly 70 percent of all companies reported a positive view of carbon offsets, the purchases of which are motivated by the environmental benefits they offer (91 percent), in addition to carbon neutrality and marketing reasons (89 percent) and fulfilling their CSR commitments (79 percent).

By and large, buyers gravitate toward renewable energy projects, including solar (92 percent) and wind (86 percent). The most desirable region for projects tended to be those located in the U.S., likely a reflection of the respondents’ origins: Fifty-six percent of those in the survey hail from North America.

Published September 21, 2009

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