When it comes to selling to the outside world as sustainably and climate-consciously as possible, the 40 companies from the German stock exchange league Dax need fear no comparison.
However, if you take a closer look at the disclosure practice for CO2 emissions, there are still considerable gaps.
This is the conclusion reached by the analysts at the German rating agency Scope, who have dealt with reporting on the so-called Scope 3 emissions in the Dax.
These are all greenhouse gas emissions along a company's value chain, even if they cannot be controlled directly by the company.
But the example of car manufacturers such as Volkswagen, Mercedes-Benz or BMW shows that these emissions can account for the majority of the CO2 balance through the cars sold.
Editor in Business.
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The results of the Scope analysts are not very flattering for the Dax companies.
Only half of the 40 companies disclose information on more than four out of 16 categories of indirect greenhouse gas emissions.
Only 26 companies provided information on emissions from purchased goods and services.
Less than half of the Dax companies report on the most important category "Use of sold products".
Seven companies currently did not report Scope 3 emissions at all.
According to Scope analyst Bernhard Bartels, one of the authors of this study and the rating agency's sustainability expert, these gaps in reporting posed a challenge for asset managers and fund managers in particular.
Because they have to meet the sustainability preferences of their investors and need information about the emissions of the companies in which they invest.
From next year, they would have to report on the greenhouse gas emissions of their portfolios under the EU Disclosure Directive.
But the large companies are only obliged to do so from 2025 on the basis of the 2024 figures.
This makes it difficult, if not impossible, for fund managers to comply with the EU directive if they invest in companies with insufficient carbon reporting.
Still big differences
The analysts have little to complain about in the disclosure of the emissions that are directly responsible for production (Scope 1) or the energy used for this (Scope 2).
According to Scope, the carbon footprint of financial institutions is mainly determined by the greenhouse gas emissions of their financial assets, which belong to the indirect emissions (Scope 3).
But here the banks and insurers would be dependent on the relevant information from the companies in which they have shares or to which they have granted loans.
Deutsche Bank, Allianz, Munich Re and Deutsche Börse are not among the ten Dax companies with the most transparent CO2 reporting.
These include the Scope analysts Siemens, Airbus, Volkswagen, BASF, Mercedes-Benz, BMW, RWE, Continental, Eon and Heidelberg-Cement.
However, the determination of indirect greenhouse gas emissions remains a problem because the reporting practices vary widely between different sectors.
Scope specialist Bartels puts this down to the results in the Dax.
There are still major differences here, while the greenhouse gas emissions that companies can directly influence are already being disclosed very extensively.
The climate balances for the Dax and other indices are regularly prepared on the basis of the so-called Scope 1 and Scope 2 emissions.
However, these only provide an incomplete picture because the emissions in the upstream and downstream stages of the value chain are not taken into account.
Fleet targets for car companies
The example of car manufacturers shows the importance of Scope 3 emissions.
You have to buy many preliminary products, the production of which is associated with high greenhouse gas emissions.
This applies, for example, to components made of steel, aluminum or plastic.
After all, the moving cars, if they are powered by petrol or diesel engines, emit many pollutants.
That is why the EU has imposed fleet targets on the car companies, with which they must reduce the CO2 emissions of the cars sold.
The emissions often appear several times in different companies.
One example is the automotive supplier Continental, which causes indirect emissions at VW, BMW and Mercedes-Benz.