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22 Indian firms out of 700 including Airtel, Reliance targeted for hiding environmental impact

A $10 trillion investor alliance has accused about 700 global companies of hiding their environmental impact which includes the impact on climate change, deforestation and water shortages.

Recently, climate change has climbed its ladder to become one of the top reasons for consideration to the investors. They are increasingly focused on the organisation’s environmental impact and damage.

According to the world’s biggest financial names, the major global companies, with a combined worth of more than $15trillion, lack transparency over their effect on the environment.

Nearly 90 banks, pension funds and money managers are calling on the businesses to disclose their level of greenhouse-gas emissions, who have been brought together by campaign platform CDP.

Targets of the campaign include big US corporate names such as Berkshire Hathaway, Facebook, Netflix, PayPal and Tesla.

They have demanded the companies to reveal data on the environmental cost of how they do business.

Investors are also leaning on fossil-fuel companies, including ExxonMobil that formerly disclosed their environmental impact but no longer do.

The 707 multinationals include 22 Indian companies, which include Bharti Airtel, ITC and Coal India.

The campaign by CDP claims that many companies do not use standardised environment data in their sustainability report. They are required to respond by July 31 by filling up an open questionnaire developed by CDP.

“Indian companies need to be more cognisant of the growing environmental disclosure norms of global investors in order to attract capital. However, there are a group of 22 high-impact companies that have not yet stepped forward,” said Damandeep Singh, director of CDP India, as quoted by DownToEarth.

“We are engaging them along with the BSE Top 200 and hope they become partners in addressing the climate emergency that is engulfing us,” he added.’

The major global companies are a combined worth of more than $15 trillion.

The CDP said 546 companies were being targeted to disclose information on the climate crisis, 166 on water security and 115 on deforestation. More than 7,000 companies already disclose their environmental impact through the CDP platform.

“Investors are telling companies, ‘This disclosure is important to us — please explain why you did not disclose or please disclose your climate change impact,'” said Emily Kreps, global director of investor initiatives at CDP.

Kreps hopes that by using shareholder influence the companies will agree to reveal their data through the CPD disclosure platform.

“Of the 22 Indian companies, 21 have been asked to furnish details of their impact on climate change. Two companies — ITC and retail firm Avenue Supermarts — have been asked to give information on deforestation. And just one company — Reliance Industries — has been asked to furnish information on water security status. Few companies have been asked to furnish details on more than one environmental aspect”, the DownToEarth report reads.

“Cathay believes that investors can play an important role in encouraging their investee companies to disclose environmental information – this campaign should improve corporate transparency and help investors better manage these environmental risks and opportunities.”

The US is home to the highest number of companies named in the campaign, accounting for a fifth of the list, followed by Australia at 16%. The UK contributes 3.5%, while India 3%.

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