GM, Disney, Shell and 1,200 others begin pricing carbon

International companies put a price on carbon dioxide emissions: report

The General Motors world headquarters is seen in downtown Detroit, Michigan May 31, 2009. REUTERS/Rebecca Cook
The General Motors world headquarters is seen in downtown Detroit, Michigan May 31, 2009. REUTERS/Rebecca Cook

More than 1,200 global businesses, including U.S. companies such as Disney, Shell and General Motors, are moving to embrace a carbon price — even if President Donald Trump isn’t, according to a new report by a Washington, D.C., climate think tank.

While the president has suggested that tackling climate change will undermine the economy and hamstring businesses, chief executives have been busy voluntarily putting a price on their own carbon dioxide emissions.

Pricing carbon — assigning a dollar value per ton of carbon dioxide emissions — creates a financial incentive for companies to reduce emissions.

The report published on Tuesday by the Center for Climate and Energy Solutions is the first major study of corporate carbon pricing since Trump’s election.

The findings are based on information disclosed to CDP, formerly known as Carbon Disclosure Project, an organization that helps investors, companies and cities track greenhouse gas emissions, as well as the companies’ sustainability reports.

The CDP found that 517 companies have put a price on carbon and 732 are planning to do so in the next two years.

The think tank also interviewed representatives from 20 major companies between November 2016 and July 2017.


Companies that have put a price on carbon include Microsoft, Disney, Swiss Re, Unilever, Shell, BP, BHP Billiton, Rio Tinto and General Motors.

“Carbon pricing is a tool that is rising on the corporate agenda. It has grown across all sectors and geographies,” Manjyot Bhan, the lead author of the Center for Climate and Energy Solutions report, told the Washington Post.

According to the World Bank, governments in 42 countries and more than 20 cities, states and provinces have either put a price on carbon or intend to do so.

California has recently extended its cap-and-trade scheme out to 2030, forcing big polluters to buy and trade carbon credits to cover their emissions. The European Union has been pricing emissions since 2005, and China is expected to launch a nationwide trading scheme in the next four months.

There’s nothing to force companies outside of such jurisdictions to price their carbon emissions. But a growing number of businesses are doing so of their own accord.

According to CDP data for 2016, more than 1,200 companies are either pursuing internal carbon pricing or planning to do so in the next two years — an increase of 23 percent compared with 2015.

About 80 businesses in the United States have a price on carbon and 130 plan to do so in the next two years, according to the CDP.



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