Climate Change and Corporate America

Climate change promises both positive and negative effects on the U.S.’ most influential corporations

 This year, over 7,000 companies (more than 1,800 from the United States) turned over reports about their environmental impacts to the CDP, a nonprofit organization based in the United Kingdom. Upon receiving these reports, the CDP (once known as the Carbon Disclosure Project) issued each company a letter grade.  Caroline Barraclough, a spokeswoman for the CDP, explained that the grades represent “how aware [the companies] are about the issue, how they’re managing it, how they’re progressing toward targets...”  U.S. companies scored the highest overall with thirty earning a grade of “A.”  Among these companies were Johnson & Johnson, Home Depot Inc., and Apple Inc.  The CDP reports are particularly insightful because they include more information than reports sent to the Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC).   

As reported by Bloomberg, the majority of companies who sent in CDP reports discovered “inherent climate-related risks” that, as they explained it, have the capacity to both negatively and positively impact their strategies, resources, and revenue.  Many companies revealed that rising temperatures are actually stunting their ability to operate. One of the most commonly cited reasons for this was water shortages.  Companies like Intel and Coca-Cola admitted they’re concerned that a lack of water will hinder their ability to produce their products.  Even the Walt Disney Co. disclosed that rising temperatures have already affected the health and wellbeing of theme park attendees.  

On the other hand, many companies divulged that climate change also has the potential to positively impact their business.  For instance, Home Depot projected that their revenue will rise due to the increased need for air conditioners and ceiling fans.  Similarly, Apple acknowledged that an upsurge of natural disasters will make their products vital commodities.

“As people begin to experience severe weather events with greater frequency, we expect an increasing need for confidence and preparedness in the arena of personal safety and the well-being of loved ones… [Their mobile devices] can serve as a flashlight or a siren; they can provide first aid instructions; they can act as a radio…” -- Apple Inc.

If corporate America is going to continue to monetize climate change, we should expect to see some changes in our lives as the years go on.  If this continues, we will likely see companies and products we know and love disappear. I wonder if President Trump would change his tune about climate change if faced with the possibility of a Diet Coke shortage…

Oliver SperansComment