Allianz tops list of 10 companies poised to benefit post COP21 agreement

Other “out performers” in report include Cisco, GE, L’Oreal and Kellogg; Tesla only “average”

German insurance giant Allianz has been given the top ranking in terms of ESG (environmental, social and governance) performance, according to a study of ten listed companies released by ESG research firm Sustainalytics. The point of the study was to assess the companies’ preparedness for a possible shift to a low-carbon world economy following the Paris climate talks (COP21).
Due both to its decision in November to divest from the coal sector and its huge renewable investment programme (near €3bn invested), Sustainalytics scores Allianz as an “Industry Leader” in the study. “To us, Allianz’s strategy signals a clear understanding of the risks and opportunities posed by climate change for insurers,” the authors of the study wrote.
The ranking of “Outperformer” in their industries was given to US internet firm Cisco Systems; US technology firm General Electric (GE); French cosmetics firm L’Oreal; and Kellogg, the US breakfast cereal firm.
Cisco was mentioned due to its involvement in an internet project for cities that, Sustainalytics said, could reduce global carbon emissions by as much as 9 gigatonnes. In GE’s case, Sustainalytics said its recent acquisition of Alstom’s power and grid business would enable it to install 370GW of renewable energy. L’Oreal, Sustainalytics said, outperformed industry peers by reducing the carbon emissions of its operations by 50% already and pledging to go carbon neutral by 2020.Sustainalytics praised Kellogg for announcing against the backdrop of COP21 that it would cut carbon emissions by 65% by the end of the century against a 2015 baseline. Another 50% cut in emissions of Kellogg’s supply chain during the time frame is also envisaged.
Regarding the other five firms in the sample, Sustainalytics graded them as “average performers” in terms of ESG performance relative to peers. They are: German power utility RWE; Australian oil and gas producer Origin Energy; US electric carmaker Tesla; South Korean chemicals firm LG Chem; and Norwegian bio-chemicals firm Borregaard.
However, the study’s authors underscored a positive outlook for all five firms in a post COP-21 world. For example, it applauded RWE’s decision to spin off its renewable energy business on the stock market, saying it would simplify management of its ‘green’ and ‘brown’ energy portfolios.
Other developments: Origin has decided to cancel new fossil fuel projects and switch to natural gas and renewables. LG Chem is well positioned to benefit the need for batteries as more electric cars are driven, while Tesla will build those cars. And Sustainalytics said Borregaard’s outlook was good, as the market for bio-based chemicals was expected to grow 90% between 2008 and 2020.