Asia-Pacific climate leaders:
Which companies cut emissions?

Nikkei-FT-Statista survey finds India chasing Australia, Japan in climate efforts

May 26, 2022

Asia-Pacific climate leaders:
Which companies cut emissions?

Nikkei-FT-Statista survey finds India chasing Australia, Japan in climate efforts

May 26, 2022

TOKYO -- Asian businesses have been slower to respond to climate change than some international peers - but companies across the region have still posted significant cuts in greenhouse gas emissions, according to Nikkei Asia's inaugural Asia-Pacific Climate Leaders survey.

Businesses from 12 Asian countries and territories made the list of the top 200 performers, including 86 from Japan, 47 from Australia and 20 from India. Taiwan accounted for 15 and South Korea 10, while Thailand led the way in South-East Asia with six.

The survey, done in partnership with the Financial Times and data provider Statista, reviewed falls over the five years to 2020 in "emissions intensity", or carbon output relative to revenues.

The listing comes as businesses worldwide face pressure from regulators, customers and investors to improve efforts to combat global heating. The COVID-19 pandemic has further intensified the focus on corporate sustainability, while last year's United Nations Climate Change Conference (COP26) spurred some companies to set themselves tougher net-zero emissions goals.

The survey takes account of so-called Scope 1 and Scope 2 emissions: those produced by the company itself, plus those produced in generating the energy it used. Scope 3 emissions, or indirect emissions arising in businesses' supply chains, were excluded from the review.

Companies in mainland China were excluded from the survey due to logistical difficulties and problems comparing measurement methods. Moreover, the survey covers companies that volunteered to take part in it. Here are five key trends from the survey.

Japan and Australia dominate

The coal yard of a thermal power plant in Yamagata Prefecture, Japan. A reduction in coal-fired power generation contributed to lower greenhouse gas emissions by companies. (Photo by Ken Kobayashi)

Companies based in Japan and Australia, two of the region's most advanced economies, accounted for about two-thirds of the top 200 list. The survey results highlight the progress businesses in the two countries have made.

In Japan, trading house Marubeni and railway operator Kintetsu Group were among the top performers. Marubeni has been scaling down its coal plant businesses, while Kintetsu is replacing older train cars with more eco-friendly ones.

In Australia, companies such as Bank Australia, mining company MMG and real estate company Charter Hall were among the region's climate leaders.

Indian companies also loom large

A solar power plant in Gujarat, India. Indian companies took one-tenth of the places on the list. (Reuters)

India took one-tenth of the places on the list as the corporate focus on the environmental increased under Narendra Modi's government. The prime minister last year pledged the country aims net zero emissions by 2070.

The Indian presence included locally listed pharmaceutical company Jubilant Pharmova, which cut its emissions intensity by an average of 35.9% year-on-year during the survey's timescale. That yielded a greenhouse gas emissions reduction of 9.6% for the fiscal year to March 2021, according to Jubilant's annual report.

The company has beefed up emissions monitoring, made water treatment at its plants more efficient and deployed more lower-emissions energy sources, such as solar, biogas, biodiesel and biomass. Moreover, Jubilant developed in-house software called Jagriti, or awakening in Hindi, for timely tracking of environment-related observations and analysis.

Other Indian businesses that made the list included telecommunication company Mindtree, Mumbai-based HDFC Bank and Tata Consultancy Services.

Asia's global tech brands lead emission efforts

Electronics makers reduced their emissions intensity thanks to environmental efforts at their facilities and in their global supply chains. (Photo by Masayuki Terazawa)

A total of 29 companies from the technology and electronics sector made the top 200, the largest number from any sector.

Asus and Lenovo, two prominent brands in the global personal computing industry, reduced their emissions intensity significantly, thanks to environmental efforts at their facilities.

Taiwan's Asus, officially Asustek Computer, has pledged to reduce its global carbon footprint by 50% by 2030 from the 2020 levels. In addition, it aims to use 100% renewable energy in Taiwan by 2030 and renewable energy worldwide by 2035.

By 2020, Asus’s recycled services covered more than 77% of its sales market and recycled more than 12,000 tons of e-waste.

Hong Kong-based Lenovo said in its 2020 Environmental, Social and Governance (ESG) report that it cut energy consumption by installing low-energy lighting systems and solar power plants at its facilities.

Other high-profile tech companies on the list include Taiwanese components maker Delta Electronics and computer manufacturer Acer Group.

Logistics and construction companies reduce emissions

Construction and logistics companies -- which tend to produce significant amounts of greenhouse gases due to the nature of their businesses -- showed some of the biggest improvements in absolute emissions reductions.

For example, South Korea's logistics operator Hyundai Glovis cut its greenhouse gas output by 45% between 2015 and 2020. The businesses has been upgrading its vehicles and vessel control systems, as well as minimizing fuel consumption through optimal transport route selection.

Likewise, Japanese marine shipping line Nippon Yusen also lowered its emissions by 45% over the five-year period. The company plans to introduce LNG vessels to reduce its reliance on oil burning ships.

In the construction industry, two big Indian cement producers, ACC and Ambuja Cement, lowered their greenhouse gas emissions by 8% and 4%, respectively, over the five years.

Some companies saw absolute emissions rise

A clutch of companies on the list reported rapid revenue growth that caused their Scope 1 and 2 emissions to rise in absolute terms even as their emissions intensity fell.

The Indian steelmaker JSW Steel saw its emissions rise 17%, while Philippine mobile carrier Globe Telecom's emissions jumped 83%. Both companies reduced their emissions intensity over the survey period.

Thai electrified railway operator BTS Group reported absolute emissions growth of 29% over the five years, while at the same time reducing emissions intensity.

BTS argued it had also given passengers an opportunity to shift away from other carbon-emitting forms of transport. That helped reduce congestion and improve air quality in Bangkok, the company said.

Asia's Climate Leaders 2022

  
Footnotes

(1) Compound Annual Reduction Rate (CARR) based on the sum of Scope 1 and Scope 2 emissions, adjusted for revenue growth, between 2015 and 2020.

(2) Calculated for 2020.

(3) Scope 3 refers to indirect emissions, which can be reported on 15 levels and thus vary enormously. Absolute figures are therefore omitted.

(4) The CDP (Carbon Disclosure Project) is the most prominent "ratings agency" for emissions reporting and reductions, and was set up as a nonprofit organization in 2000.

(5) SBTi is a partnership between the CDP, the U.N. Global Compact, the World Resources Institute (WRI) and the WWF. It helps companies set appropriate targets to help combat climate change by limiting the global average temperature increase well-below 2°C and below 1.5°; C is the ideal target.

Methodology

The Asia-Pacific’s Climate Leaders is a list of 200 companies that have achieved the greatest reduction in greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions intensity. The ranking aims to highlight companies whose GHG emissions intensity fell the most between 2015 and 2020. Emissions intensity is defined as tons of Scope 1 and Scope 2 emissions of CO2 equivalent per $1 million in revenue. The 2015 and 2020 figures are used to calculate the compound annual rate of reduction, expressed as a percentage.

Asia-Pacific companies headquartered in one of 14 countries and regions (Australia, Hong Kong, India, Indonesia, Japan, Macao, Malaysia, New Zealand, the Philippines, Singapore, South Korea, Taiwan, Thailand and Vietnam) with a minimum revenue of $50 million in 2020 were eligible for consideration. A call for entries invited prospective participants to fill out a short questionnaire about their GHG emissions between 2015 and 2020, and their revenue over the same period (for banks and insurance companies, total income was used in place of revenue). If the reporting period did not correspond to the calendar year, the reporting period which had the most months in a given year was used.

The application period ran from November 2021 to February 2022. In addition, Statista scrutinized publicly available data of more than 2,000 companies in the Asia-Pacific region. Although extensive research was carried out, the list is incomplete: Some companies did not publish figures or declined to participate.Fuller information about the methodology is available from Statista. Statista is a platform that provides access to a wide range of business data, insights and trends covering more than 170 industries. Go to Statista.com for more information.