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Most Singapore firms fare poorly in climate disclosure; global traction picking up

FIFTEEN out of 29 Singapore companies assessed by global climate disclosure analysis firm CDP have earned failing scores for their climate disclosures, with only four securing a B- grade and above.

CDP, the UK-based organisation formerly known as the Carbon Disclosure Project, surveyed 1,800 companies around the world to assess their progress toward environmental stewardship based on the company's responses.

Of the 29 Singapore companies that were scored on the climate metric, the highest grade attained was "A-", which was awarded only to developer City Developments and telco Singapore Telecommunications. They were followed by developer CapitaLand, with a "B", and Olam International, with a "B-".

Across the global survey, CDP found that more companies are stepping up their response to climate change and setting more ambitious targets to drive sustainable progress towards a low-carbon future.

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A good 89 per cent of respondents reported emissions reduction targets in 2017, and more than two thirds of those are setting targets to at least 2020, while 20 per cent are mapping out sustainability actions to 2030. This represents an increase across the board from 2016, where 85 per cent of the sample reported setting targets, but only 55 per cent extended these to 2020 or beyond, and 14 per cent went on to 2030.

Spurred by the Paris Agreement, businesses are also picking up the pace on climate action, CDP said.

"There is growing recognition that targets should be aligned with climate science to effectively future-proof corporate growth," CDP said.

It added that long-term targets that meet the worldwide effort to hold global warming below two degree celsius, will help companies avoid investments in high-carbon infrastructure. Since 2016, the number of companies that have committed to the science-based targets initiative has increased by 61 per cent.

CDP's report comes just ahead of new Singapore Exchange regulations that will require listed companies in 2018 to produce sustainability reports on "comply or explain" basis.

CDL's chief sustainability officer, Esther An said that sustainability has become part and parcel of the group's everyday work.

"Sustainability has been integrated into CDL's business and operations, and this has served as a strategic differentiator for our brand and products," Ms An said.

"CDL will continue to enhance our long-established sustainability strategy and best practices around carbon disclosure."

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