There are many retail/individual investors who are looking to put their money into companies who are transitioning to net-zero or carbon-neutrality. In our last blog we touched on how these investors can identify potential net-zero companies as well as assess the net-zero credentials of a company or a group of companies in a sector. Unfortunately once you have identified a company, assessing the net-zero credentials is not easily done. Unlike financial information, carbon emissions and environmental goals are not as strictly regulated so trying to find that data is half the battle. So at Green Finance Guide HQ we decided to run a test-case…
Below is an example of the basic information, which can be collated about a company’s greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions. For this example, we chose the top 3 ‘pure-play’ wind turbine manufacturers in 2019 and quickly gathered the relevant information together.
The main sources for this information are the company’s own documents, principally the annual report or a sustainability report.
In the exercise below we time limited our search for each data point to five minutes. We believe this is another indication of climate commitment and of how easy the information is to find (or wants to be found).
Firstly, there is some basic information around company size such as revenue and production capacity. For wind turbine manufacturers we used the total power capacity of the turbines they produced.
Then we look at some basic climate commitment information: do they produce a separate sustainability report? Do they disclose their greenhouse gas emissions (GHG) via the CDP? Do they self publish their GHG emissions? And do they have a climate-neutral or net-zero goal? If so, when is their target?
Finally, we have the GHG emissions data. This is broken down into scope 1, 2, and 3 data. Scope 1 are direct emissions by the company’s own operations, scope 2 are from the purchase of energy, and scope 3 are the emissions from the company’s value chain .
|Siemens Gamesa Renewable Energy SA
|Xinjiang Goldwind Science & Technology Co., Ltd
|Revenue 2019 (USD conversion 30/06/2020)
|Capacity Production 2019
|Internal Sustainability Report
|CDP Data (Date refers to year report published not the year of the emissions)
|Self published emissions
|Scope 1 (tonnes of CO2)
|Not published in report
|Not published in report
Even when the companies are compared side-by-side, gaps in the data mean it is difficult to see which company is the most sustainable. But we can see that Siemens Gamesa has the best reporting record, as well as the most ambitious carbon-neutral/net-zero time frame.
From the data above we still cannot tell whether any of the companies have a good track record of decreasing its emissions and hitting interim targets. Unfortunately until we have easy to access historic emissions data we will have to rely on our intuition.
Putting Carbon Emissions Into Context: Emissions Per Unit Produced
The raw GHG emissions data gives us an idea of the total emissions from a company. However, there would potentially be one further calculation to perform if we want to compare companies side-by-side: normalisation. Since each company is a different size, we need to compare GHG emissions per unit produced. Therefore, we can ‘normalise’ the emission figures using data, which describes the number of units produced. In this case we have used either the revenue of the company or the total power capacity of all the wind turbines they produced in a given year. The units for these values are tonnes of CO2 per dollar of revenue or per GW of wind power capacity produced.
Looking at the data we can see that some companies have more carbon efficient operations than others. Goldwind has the most efficient scope 1 emissions (i.e. factory operations), but this is dwarfed by their scope 2 emissions. Vestas and Siemens Gamesa have significantly more efficient scope 2 operations (i.e. where they are sourcing their electricity/energy).
Unfortunately, however, we still cannot see the whole picture yet since 2 out of 3 companies do not publish scope 3 emissions. This is important because Siemens Gamesa’s scope 3 emissions are greater than their scope 1 and 2 combined. If that is the case with the other two companies then Vestas and Goldwind are potentially producing far more emissions than their scope 1 and 2 disclosures suggest.
Outlined above is a rough template of the data required to make a judgement on the net-zero credentials of a company. With more time and resources it is possible to delve deeper into a company’s operations of estimate/identify GHG emissions but even for the average fund manager or professional investor this is probably a tall order.
Therefore, for the average retail or individual investor this is going to be even more of a difficult ask, so gathering what data is available is key. Without extensive GHG emissions data, it will be difficult to quickly see whether companies are hitting their interim emissions goals and are on the path to net-zero; however, for the time being, what data can be gathered seems just as important as the data itself.
- Vestas Annual Report 2019 – https://www.vestas.com/~/media/vestas/investor/investor%20pdf/financial%20reports/2019/q4/2019_annual_report.pdf
- Siemens Gamesa Annual Report 2019 – https://www.siemensgamesa.com/en-int/-/media/siemensgamesa/downloads/en/investors-and-shareholders/annual-reports/2019/siemens-gamesa-renewable-energy-annual-report-2019-en.pdf
- Goldwind Annual Report 2019 – http://184.108.40.206:8080/goldwind-en/upload/files/20200427182817c2C9VjkZ.pdf
- Vestas Sustainability Report 2019 https://www.vestas.com/~/media/vestas/investor/investor%20pdf/financial%20reports/2019/q4/sustainabilityreport_2019.pdf
- Siemens Gamese GHG Emissions Report 2019 https://www.siemensgamesa.com/en-int/-/media/siemensgamesa/downloads/en/sustainability/siemens-gamesa-ghg_report_2019_en.pdf
- Goldwind 2019 Sustainability Report http://www.goldwindglobal.com/about/duty