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M&S, BT, Unilever, Sainsbury's Top FTSE 100 Carbon Ranking

For the second year in a row, retailer Marks & Spencer has topped Carbon Clear’s ranking of the carbon performance of the FTSE 100. This is the third year that Carbon Clear has undertaken the research, examining the extent and depth of FTSE (London stock exchange) 100 companies’ carbon measurement and reporting practices, ranking companies based on a well-developed scoring matrix.

The 2013 research found that although many businesses continue to take carbon management seriously, there is still work to be done. For example, only 52 of the FTSE100 companies include their carbon footprint in their annual reports. This is especially significant in light of regulations that came into effect this week requiring approximately 1000 UK listed companies to include global greenhouse gas emissions in their annual report.

The analysis into companies’ carbon performance, carried out in summer 2013, focused on how businesses measure, report and verify their carbon footprint, their existing and planned strategies for reducing emissions, their actual carbon reductions and their work to engage stakeholders about their climate change programs. Carbon Clear scored publicly available information from each company in the FTSE 100 against 65 reporting criteria.

The top 10 performers were Marks & Spencer, BT Group, National Grid, Aviva, Unilever, Reed Elsevier, TUI Travel, Sainsbury’s, BSkyB, British Land, Barclays, Whitbread and HSBC*****. For the third year in a row, the supermarket sector scored the highest average scores. The transport and logistics sector scored the lowest average scores in the 2013 research.

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There was a significant range in scores, from the highest score of 91% to the lowest score of just 5%.

Mark Chadwick, Chief Executive of Carbon Clear said: “It’s no secret that Marks & Spencer have a well-developed carbon management programme, but it’s a real achievement that the company continues to innovate and be a best practice leader for a second year. The fact that a carbon footprint must now be included in the annual reports of publicly listed companies reminds us of the continued importance of a successful carbon programme. Companies will not be able to hide poor disclosure performance and we believe that the best practice identified through our research signposts the way to better reporting.”

Last month, the Carbon Trust released research revealing that, while UK consumers see business as the key to economic recovery, they do not yet see it as key to fixing our environmental problems, with 68 percent of respondents unable to name a company taking the issue of environmental sustainability seriously.

For respondents who could name companies they thought were walking the sustainability talk, Marks & Spencer was the most popular answer, followed in order by the Co-operative Group, Tesco, BP and Sainsbury’s.

*****Two companies are joint sixth and three companies are in joint tenth place


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