Investors accuse 37 Indian companies of hiding environmental impact information

A group of 105 investors wrote to 1,051 corporate giants across 49 countries on the matter 

By Rajit Sengupta
Published: Wednesday 10 June 2020

An alliance of global investors with a combined asset of over $10 trillion has accused 37 Indian companies — including Dabur India Ltd, Godrej Consumer Products Ltd and Bharat Petroleum Corporation Ltd — of allegedly not disclosing the full extent of their impact on climate crisis, water shortage and deforestation.

CDP, an environmental disclosure campaign platform, on behalf of 105 investors wrote to 1,051 multinationals spread across 49 countries, including Maruti Suzuki India Ltd, Apollo Hospitals Enterprises and Reliance Industries Ltd, to disclose the environmental impact information.

The companies being engaged cover over $8 trillion in global market capitalisation. They are estimated to emit more than 4,800 megatonnes (Mt) carbon dioxide equivalent (CO2e) annually — equivalent to the 2017 greenhouse gas emissions from the United States.

The non-profit claimed many companies in the list did not use standardised environment data in their sustainability reports that prohibits any form of comparison. The companies need to respond by August 26, by filling up an open questionnaire developed by CDP and that is aligned with the recommendations of the United Nations Task Force on Climate-related Financial Disclosures.

While CDP reaches out to 200 top companies listed in Indian stock markets every year, the group of investors targets a smaller sub-group of high-impact companies and asks them to fill up the CDP questionnaire. The number of high-impact Indian companies was 22 in 2019; it shot up to 37 in 2020.

“The number of companies that have been asked to disclose their environmental footprint in India has gone up. This shows greater interest by global investors in India, which is positive as it will push Indian companies to get a greater share of sustainability focused finance,” said Damandeep Singh, director, CDP India.

While all 37 Indian companies have been asked to furnish details of their impact on climate change, eight have been asked to give information on deforestation. A total of 15 companies have been asked to furnish information on water security status.

A few companies have been asked to furnish details on more than one environmental aspect.

“Climate change, water security and deforestation present material risks to investments, and companies that are failing to disclose their impact risk trailing behind their competitors in their access to capital… investors require decisive data that is consistent, comparable and comprehensive,” said Emily Kreps, global director of capital markets, CDP.

The most targeted industry for non-disclosure globally this year was the services industry (23 per cent of all companies), followed by manufacturing (16 per cent), materials (14 per cent), infrastructure (10 per cent) and fossil fuels (9 per cent).

Down to Earth has not contacted the companies for response


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