Matt Gwynn, (Engagement Manager) and Aparna Trichur (Partnerships & Communications Lead) – World Benchmarking Alliance
At the World Benchmarking Alliance, we recently launched a Climate and Energy Benchmark in Oil and Gas in partnership with CDP and ADEME. The benchmark assesses the world’s most influential 100 listed and state-owned oil and gas companies’ targets and performance against their 1.5°C pathway to see if they are on track to meet the Paris Agreement. The most comprehensive corporate accountability mechanism for a low-carbon transition; our research drew some alarming conclusions, including a key finding on the performance of state owned companies, particularly relevant for China.
Companies with state ownership are slower to transition than the majors and independents. WBA’s benchmark showed that this poor performance is an even bigger risk to climate ambition than that of publicly listed and private companies. Why? Because “41 state owned companies account for 56% emissions; which is more than half of the projected emissions of the total 100 companies”. In addition to this worrying state of picture, many of the nations involved have made no commitment to net-zero emissions and there is limited ability for non-government stakeholders to push for change.
Looking at this through the regional lens; the Oil and Gas Benchmark assessed the following five companies headquartered in China: China Petroleum and Chemical Corporation Limited (Sinopec), China National Petroleum Corporation (CNPC), China National Offshore Oil Corporation (CNOOC Group), Shaanxi Yanchang Petroleum Group and Sinochem Energy.
The five companies are positioned in the bottom 50% of the 100 ranking. Sinopec leads the group, ranked joint 54th with an ACT rating of 2.0E-. Shaanxi Yanchang Petroleum Group and Sinochem Energy, ranking in the bottom 10, are at most risk in the low-carbon transition.
The narrative assessment provides a holistic view of a company’s state of alignment with the goals of the Paris Agreement. Taking into account findings from the performance assessment component of the ACT rating, the narrative assessment asks what does the company plan to do and how it is planning to achieve this? What is the company already doing and what activities have been undertaken recently? And lastly, how consistent is the companies plan as a whole? All five companies received the lowest narrative rating of E indicating group misalignment with the Paris Agreement goals. Additionally, all five companies received a negative trend score, meaning that if the companies were reassessed in the near future, its score would likely decrease.
The five companies underperform on low-carbon target setting, with a lack in public commitments and quantitative targets to reduce scope 1, 2 and 3 emissions. Targets can be pivotal in driving business strategy and demonstrating the company’s alignment with its 1.5°C pathway. Companies must be more transparent on their emissions reduction targets in the short term and long term to allow external stakeholders to assess its commitment to the low-carbon transition.
Our research concluded that in this new era for energy production, oil and gas companies are at a crossroads: transform or become redundant. They can no longer plead ignorance of how urgently change is needed. The industry must acknowledge the wholesale transformation required to survive and signal the steps it is taking to meet this challenge.
Given this context, what can China, as a country do to create a policy environment that enables these companies to course correct, well in time? China’s President Xi Jinping announced the country’s low-carbon transition intentions a year ago, with the release of their Net Zero Commitment by 2060. In that line, what more can investors, civil society, policy makers and other stakeholders do to inspire commitments from companies in the region?
With the recent release of IPCC’s 6th Assessment Report; it is clear that there is no more time left for waiting to act. If humanity needs to be re-aligned to a 1.5 degree future, everyone must act in parallel and in conjunction to each other for a system transformation on decarbonisation and energy. Governments must step up their policy commitments towards climate action; and companies must be held accountable for the volume of their actions. Can Chinese stakeholders exhibit leadership to do so?
What does concrete action look like for them? Given the significance of the influence of these companies, with the number of people they employ, considering the size and scale of their operations, there is a definite opportunity for them to step up and showcase leadership to pivot the trajectory towards a 1.5 degree future: nationally, regionally and globally.
Setting up specific targets for scope 3 emissions reductions, which is one of the biggest emissions sources for oil and gas companies, constitutes one notable area for improvement. The findings from our benchmark assessment show that most oil and gas companies are still not in line with their targets and ambitions to achieve a low-carbon transition that meets the 1.5°C scenario. Their targets need to be stepped up; their commitments need to be made firmer. Given that oil and gas is a high-emitting industry in every country’s economic portfolio, it is also essential for both companies and countries to work towards better alignment in their decarbonisation plans. This can form the basis for greater engagement between these influential companies and national governments, as well as between companies and their allies and stakeholders in the locations where they operate.
WBA will continue to disseminate the data and key findings of the global Oil and Gas Benchmark at country and regional levels in China by convening dialogues, contributing to policy development and engaging directly with the companies. If we are to activate effective action on the low-carbon transition, it’s imperative for us all to play our role.
Read the complete results of WBA’s Oil and Gas Benchmark here: https://www.worldbenchmarkingalliance.org/publication/oil-and-gas/
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世界基準聯盟(World Benchmarking Alliances; WBA)最近與全球環境信息研究中心(CDP)及法國環境能源管理總署智庫(ADEME)合作，在旗下氣候和能源基準中，發表《石油與天然氣行業基準》報告，此基準主要評估世界上最有影響力的100家上市及國營石油和天然氣公司，評估企業是否符合《巴黎協定》的要求，控制平均氣溫升幅在1.5°C的水平，基準有助監察企業的低碳轉型表現。研究結果確實令人震驚，當中包括對國營企業的重要發現，結果更對中國內地企業尤其重要。
從地區的角度分析，《石油與天然氣行業基準》評估了以下五家總部設在中國內地的公司，包括：中國石油化工集團(Sinopec)、中國石油天然氣集團 (CNPC)、中國海洋石油 (CNOOC Group)、陝西延長石油集團和中化能源。
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