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An assessment of climate action by high-carbon global corporations


Corporations are an important source of GHG emissions1,2,3 and important actors in mitigating climate change4. This paper presents and analyses a database of corporate climate action that provides an up-to-date assessment of companies’ carbon management practices, as well as systematically benchmarking companies’ emissions pathways against international targets. Our analysis covers 138 companies in 7 high-emitting sectors, accounting for 21% of emissions from all listed companies globally5. While most companies have implemented basic carbon management practices, we find that less than half of them have implemented more strategic practices. Further analysis indicates companies separate into those that hardly undertake any carbon management practices and those that undertake most. Perhaps surprisingly, most corporate emissions targets in our sample are aligned with the Paris Agreement goals, although most companies are yet to set quantified targets. Companies that have implemented more carbon management practices today are more likely to have set 2 °C-aligned targets. Carbon management and emissions performance are associated most strongly with where companies are headquartered and their size.

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Fig. 1: Share of companies implementing each management practice.
Fig. 2: Distribution of the count of management practices implemented by companies.
Fig. 3: Share of companies with an emissions intensity aligned with (that is below) international climate goals.

Data availability

The authors declare that the data supporting the findings of this study are available in the paper and its supplementary information files.


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TPI is funded and supported by a group of asset owners and managers listed at S.D. would also like to acknowledge the support of the Economic and Social Research Council (ESRC, UK) and the Grantham Foundation for the Protection of the Environment. The input of the TPI Steering and Technical Advisory Groups helped this research.

Author information




R.S. designed the methodology for assessing carbon management practices, with input from C.G.-M. and S.D. The methodology for assessing emissions performance was designed by S.D., with input from C.G.-M., W.I., B.R. and R.S. The data were analysed by S.D., C.F., W.I., B.R. and R.S. The paper was drafted by S.D. and W.I. with input from C.F., C.G.-M., B.R. and R.S.

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Correspondence to Simon Dietz.

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The authors declare no competing interests.

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Supplementary information

Supplementary Information

Supplementary Methods, Supplementary Tables 1–28, Supplementary Discussion, Supplementary Figure 1, Supplementary References

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Dietz, S., Fruitiere, C., Garcia-Manas, C. et al. An assessment of climate action by high-carbon global corporations. Nature Clim Change 8, 1072–1075 (2018).

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