Frequently Asked Questions

Net-Zero Company Benchmark

The Climate Action 100+ Net-Zero Company Benchmark assesses the performance of focus companies against the initiative’s three high-level goals: emissions reduction, governance, and disclosure. The Benchmark draws on distinct analytical methodologies and data-sets, to provide investors and other stakeholders with a robust tool to facilitate focus company engagement and action.

Individual company assessments are accessible here. In addition, the complete set of assessments in Excel format is available for download here.

Frequently Asked Questions

Yes – the Benchmark will continue to be updated and revised based on investor priorities and the latest available information and methodologies to assess companies’ climate transition preparedness and alignment with the Paris Agreement goals. See background and future development for more information.

Climate Action 100+ intends to hold a public consultation in the second half of 2021 so that investors, companies and other stakeholders can provide feedback on the direction of the next iteration of the Benchmark (due in 2022). In the meantime—general feedback and questions are welcomed at [email protected].

The Benchmark does not specifically seek to score or rank companies, nor does it use overall numeric or alphabetic ratings. As every component of the Benchmark is important, the intent is to ensure that investors and other stakeholders give all indicators, sub-indicators, and metrics due consideration, rather than focusing on overall rankings or scores. Company assessments are intended to draw investor attention to the most significant aspects of corporate strategy and climate action or inaction. Some indicators may have greater relevance for certain companies or sectors than others. In addition to the company assessments, TPI will develop sector-level summaries, allowing comparisons between a company and its peers.

Individual company assessments are up-to-date as of 22 January 2021. In December 2020, TPI prepared preliminary assessments using public data collected on 30 September 2020. Companies were then invited to review these, correct any inaccuracies, and submit additional public disclosures up until 22 January 2021, which was the cut-off date for the current company assessments.

 

Company disclosures beyond 22 January 2021 are not included in the company assessments, but will be considered for the next iteration of the benchmark in 2022. See background and future development for more information.

Climate Action 100+ intends to periodically reflect relevant company disclosures and commitments that occur between the Benchmark assessment cycles. These will be displayed as supplementary and unassessed information for each company on the website and presented as contextual information in the “notes” section below each company assessment.  This will allow the initiative to present a more up-to-date picture of company progress as the assessment data (as at 22 January 2021) becomes outdated. Indicator outcomes themselves (e.g. Yes, No, Partial) will not be updated between cycles.

 

The first round of relevant updates will be added to the website in Q2 2021. More details on the process and frequency will follow after the Benchmark launch in March 2021. The next formal assessment of company disclosures via the Benchmark will occur in 2022.

In the absence of a credible 1.5°C scenario suite encompassing all assessed sectors, company emission reduction targets have been measured against a below 2°C scenario in the first iteration of the Benchmark (indicators 2.3, 3.3 and 4.3). Specifically, the International Energy Agency‘s (IEA’s) Beyond 2 Degrees Scenario (B2DS) forms the main part of most sector assessments. Under B2DS, the energy sector reaches carbon neutrality by 2060 to limit future temperature increase to under 1.75°C by 2100 (with a 50% probability). For the automotive sector, TPI uses the International Council on Clean Transportation (ICCT)’s clean transportation roadmap (the ICCT itself being an important contributor to IEA analysis). These scenarios are largely constrained on a common carbon budget and are thus highly consistent between sectors. Additionally, they are well suited for defining sectoral benchmarks due to the emissions and activity granularity of model outputs that the IEA provides. Other scenarios, such as the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC)’s 1.5°C global reference scenario, are generally less suitable for the purpose of assessing the alignment of company climate targets with global climate scenarios at this point in time. Please refer to framework and methodologies for more specific detail at the indicator level.

 

The signatories of Climate Action 100+ feel it is important to signal their expectation that companies align with the Paris Agreement goal of limiting global temperature increase to 1.5°C with low or no overshoot (equivalent to net-zero emissions by 2050). The next iteration of the Benchmark will seek to incorporate the IEA’s forthcoming 1.5°C scenario (The World’s Roadmap to Net Zero by 2050 is due for release in May 2021).

The Benchmark and TPI’s methodology to assess focus company alignment with global climate scenarios are derived from the absolute emissions pathways and total carbon budgets developed by the International Energy Agency (IEA). Performance is described in intensity terms to allow for comparisons between companies and to eliminate the size differences between companies. For example, if a large company reduces its emissions by a certain absolute amount, it might represent only a relatively small portion of the company’s overall emissions impact, whereas if a smaller company were to reduce its absolute emissions by the exact same amount, it may represent a much greater effort given the company’s size and emissions impact. Using emissions intensity as the metric of performance, better accounts for the difference in scale between companies and thereby enhances the comparability of company emissions reduction targets. See framework and methodologies for more information.

We have identified sectors/companies where Scope 3 emissions are likely to be significant, without setting formal thresholds. This is based on consultation with climate experts, investor signatories and investor networks. Given the uncertainties inherent in measuring Scope 3 emissions, our research continues in this area. See framework and methodologies for more information about the Scope 3 application by sector. Below is a summary of sector classification and scope 3 emissions application (relevant to criteria for indicators 1, 2, 3, 4 and 5).

 

ClusterSectorScope 3 applicable?
EnergyOil and gasYes (use of sold products)
Oil and gas distributionYes (use of sold products)
Electric utilitiesUtilities w/ oil and gas distribution businesses (use of sold products from distribution businesses)
Coal miningYes (use of sold products)
TransportAutosYes (use of sold products)
AirlinesNo
ShippingNo
Other transportYes (use of sold products)
IndustrialsAluminumNo
CementNo
SteelNo
ChemicalsYes (purchased goods and services and use of sold products)
PaperNo
Diversified MiningYes (processing of sold products; for coal manufacturers, also use of sold products)
Other industrialsOn a case by case basis (non-electricity use of sold product)
Consumer goods and servicesConsumer goods and servicesYes (purchased goods and services)

The Benchmark disclosure indicators assess whether a company has disclosed its decarbonisation strategy to meet their long- and medium-term emissions reduction targets. Companies headquartered in the EU (plus UK, Switzerland and Norway) are also assessed on whether they have made commitments to ‘green revenues’ from low carbon products and services. The current framework uses a green revenues definition that aligns with the European Union’s (EU) Green Taxonomy criteria on ‘turnover’ (or revenues).

 

Although the benchmark does not interrogate the quality of company decarbonisation strategies directly, the above disclosures and third-party capital allocation assessments (from Carbon Tracker and 2° Investing Initiative) serve as high-level measures of their adequacy. These additional third-party analyses, which correspond with company disclosures’ relative to indicator six in the benchmark, are included for upstream oil and gas companies, electric utilities (coal and gas generation assets) and automotive companies. Climate Action 100+ will seek to add additional sector-based capital allocation indicators in future iterations of the Benchmark (where feasible and available). We encourage investors and other stakeholders to analyse specific company decarbonisation strategies more closely to determine their robustness and credibility.

 

See framework and methodologies for more information.

The Benchmark assesses companies on the basis of their own emissions reduction efforts, although offsets are allowed where they are clearly related to their own operations/businesses (e.g. airlines using direct air capture of exhaust gases, pulp and paper companies planting trees).

 

Climate Action 100+ is of the view that the use of offsetting or carbon credits should be avoided and limited, if applied at all. Offsetting or ‘carbon dioxide removal’ should not be used by companies operating in sectors where viable decarbonisation technologies exist. For example, offsetting would not be considered credible if used to offset emissions for a coal-fired power plant because viable alternatives exist to coal-fired power plants.

 

Companies are encouraged to be transparent about how they use offsets, and to clearly delineate between their emission reduction efforts and the emission reductions delivered through offsets. This transparency also allows Climate Action 100+ to revisit company assessments as the collective thinking on offsets evolves. There is currently no agreed methodology to integrate offsets into sectoral assessment methodologies – all TPI benchmarks, used as the basis for Carbon Performance assessments, are entirely gross emissions (i.e. excluding offsets). 2dii do not include offsets in their model.

The design of the Benchmark indicators (in particular those that relate to emissions targets and performance) has, where feasible, sought to build on existing disclosure frameworks such as those produced by TCFD, CDP, SASB, and GRI, among others. The Benchmark is designed to be complementary to these frameworks and provide more detail on specific disclosures that investors want to see regarding how companies are planning to transform their businesses in line with a net-zero emissions future.

 

The Benchmark has an explicit indicator (disclosure indicator 10) on the implementation of TCFD aligned disclosure, which is a key goal of Climate Action 100+. The TCFD offers companies and investors a comprehensive, forward-looking framework to assess climate-related risks and opportunities.

 

It should also be noted that the Climate Action 100+ Net-Zero Company Benchmark is not a reporting mechanism itself and draws on existing disclosure platforms (e.g., CDP) and other public information such as a company’s annual report, sustainability report, press releases, etc. This captures any publicly available information prepared using frameworks such as TCFD, SASB, GRI, etc.

The Transition Pathway Initiative (TPI) is an investor-supported tool that assesses companies’ management quality and carbon performance. Whilst TPI is providing the data that underpins the Climate Action 100+ Net Zero Company Benchmark, the TPI also has an independent (but closely linked) framework. TPI’s framework provides a number of other data points and indicators that are helpful to investor engagement, in particular for companies that are at the early stages of managing climate change. TPI also covers a wider universe of companies than Climate Action 100+, with an online toolkit that allows for peer comparison of companies by sector.

 

For more information, please refer to this investor guide on how the Benchmark and TPI tools can be used together (developed by AIGCC, PRI and Chronos Sustainability). Although the guide has a focus on supporting engagement in Asia, it is generally applicable across regions.

The  Climate Action 100+ Net Zero Company Benchmark assesses companies’ publicly disclosed GHG emissions reduction targets using TPI’s Carbon Performance methodology. This is based on the Sectoral Decarbonisation Approach (SDA), a framework that translates greenhouse gas emissions targets made at the international level into appropriate sector-level benchmarks, against which the performance of individual companies can be compared. The Science Based Targets Initiative (SBTi) uses a similar SDA, however there may be some variation of pathways depending on the sector.

 

Whilst some company targets set via SBTi may be recognised in the Benchmark and help to assess companies positively on certain indicators, this is not automatically the case. Targets need to meet the criteria of the Benchmark, specifically with regards to:

 

Timeframes – The Benchmark categorises and assesses targets across three time horizons: long-term (2036-2050), medium-term (2026-2035) and short-term (2020-2025); in addition to a net zero 2050 ambition indicator.

 

Emissions coverage – The Benchmark categorises and assesses targets by: scope 1 and 2 emissions (at least 95%), and most relevant scope 3 emissions (where applicable).

 

Data sources – The Benchmark uses publicly disclosed information such as company annual reports, financial filings, CDP disclosures, etc. Targets therefore need to be disclosed by companies through their own corporate reporting, or through CDP, in order to be recognised.

 

See framework and methodologies for more information.

A preliminary copy of the Benchmark framework was sent to all focus companies (via letter/email) in September 2020. Preliminary assessments were also sent to all focus companies for review in December 2020. Note – eight companies (Grupo Argos SA, Grupo México, Incitec Pivot, Oil Search, Orica, Petróleos Mexicanos – PEMEX, Saudi Arabian Oil Company (Aramco), and UltraTech Cement Ltd) have not been assessed in the first iteration of the benchmark given they were added to the Climate Action 100+ focus list in November 2020. However, they will be included in future iterations of the Benchmark. See background and future development for more information.

In 2019, Climate Action 100+ took a first step toward helping signatories assess focus companies against the initiative’s goals by releasing a repository of data known as the Climate Action 100+ Company Dashboard. The dashboard (available to signatories only) displayed a range of performance indicators developed by selected data providers that included TPI, CTI, 2DII, and InfluenceMap. The new Benchmark builds upon the Climate Action 100+ Company Dashboard, providing enhanced and more granular guidance on how focus companies can align their business strategies with the goals of the initiative and a net‐zero emissions future. The Benchmark replaces the dashboard as the main source of engagement-relevant company data for the initiative.

Signatories have agreed on a common engagement agenda that seeks commitments from boards and senior management to reduce GHG emissions across the value chain consistent with the Paris Agreement goal of limiting global average temperature increase to well below 2°C above pre-industrial levels and pursuing efforts to limit the increase to 1.5°C.

 

Higher ambition was embraced by signatories following the October 2018 release of the Intergovernmental  Panel on Climate Change’s (IPCC) Special Report on the Impacts of Global Warming of 1.5°C, which demonstrated the direct and immediate benefits of limiting global warming to 1.5°C. Achieving this goal requires a global reduction in GHG emissions of about 45 per cent by 2030, and net-zero emissions by 2050 or sooner. The Benchmark indicators are intended to help investors and other stakeholders assess the adequacy of company climate strategies consistent with this level of ambition. It is intended to inform engagements and identify key actions focus companies can undertake to align their businesses with the goals of the initiative and a net‐zero emissions future.

 

This is an aggregate expectation and the timeframe for companies to achieve net-zero emissions differs depending on the sector. Some companies in certain sectors, such as electric utilities, may be expected to set more ambitious goals and achieve net-zero emissions by 2040 or even sooner. This will be an ongoing area of work via the initiative’s broader sector strategies.

An additional layer of reference to Asian companies’ target disclosure alignment to their NDCs are being added with the understanding that many companies operating under Asian jurisdictions are under the directive of their home country’s NDCs. Whilst we expect targets to become more ambitious over time, thus not needing an additional layer of reference in the future, in this iteration of the Benchmark, we compare each country’s NDC (based on their latest submission to UNFCCC which are catalogued at this registry) against the most recent publicly announced (including to CDP) carbon reduction goals of the companies assessed in the Benchmark.

 

In our assessment, we have adopted 2030 as specified in NDCs as the timeframe against which companies’ targets are measured against. Therefore, companies that have declared 2050 net zero targets but have not set 2030 targets would be assessed as not being aligned. The assessments are up-to-date as of 09 March. They will be updated periodically in sync with other company updates made via the website.

Explore the Company Assessments

The first iteration of the Net-Zero Company Benchmark assesses 159 of the Climate Action 100+ focus companies. The Benchmark resets and clarifies investor expectations of what the focus companies must do to align with the goals of the initiative, while providing a mechanism for tracking progress.

See the assessments