U.S. Companies Acknowledge Mounting Climate Risks in CDP Disclosures
A recent report from the UK’s Carbon Disclosure Project shows that many of America’s largest corporations recognize climate change as a clear and present danger to their operations and profit margins, even as the current occupant of the White House continues to deny that reality.
Out of more than 7,000 environmental impact, risk, and opportunity reports CDP received last year from companies around the world, more than 1,800 came from the United States. Taken in aggregate, “the documents reveal how widely climate change is expected to cascade through the economy—disrupting supply chains, disabling operations, and driving away customers,” Bloomberg reports.
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For tech giant Intel Corporation, drought will be a key threat. “Many of Intel’s operations are located in semi-arid regions and water-stressed areas, such as Israel, China, and the southwestern United States,” the company told CDP, which could “potentially lead to increased operational costs since the semiconductor manufacturing process relies on access to water.”
Already bruised by a 2017 disaster season that cost it US$627 million, AT&T fears further escalating costs to repair networks damaged by hurricanes and wildfires, as well as those incurred from “proactively relocating equipment or additional network hardening,” Bloomberg notes.
And rising temperatures have Disney feeling the heat. In its disclosure to CDP, the entertainment giant spoke anxiously about “the comfort, health, and well-being of its customers” already struggling to keep cool in overheating theme parks.
For other companies, it is the threat of rising water that keeps them up at night. Reporting that “4% of its U.S. real estate-secured loans are in flood zones, almost all of them residential,” writes Bloomberg, Bank of America told CDP that “increased flood incidence and severity could lead to our clients defaulting on their mortgage payments if, for example, flood insurance premiums become unaffordable.”
And then there’s Visa Inc., whose disclosure to CDP “warns that global warming could increase global pandemics and armed conflict—problems that would in turn cause fewer people to travel,” to the detriment of a credit card company’s bottom line.