This post was written by Patsy Doerr, global head of Corporate Responsibility & Inclusion at Thomson Reuters

During the recent United Nations Climate Change Conference in Lima, Peru, there was a renewed urgency by nations to curb greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions worldwide to reduce the impact of climate change.

A new report – Global 500 Greenhouse Gases Performance 2010-2013: 2014 Report on Trends – from Thomson Reuters and BSD Consulting shows that business, and all of us, are also important stakeholders in the effort to curb GHG emissions.

Among the key findings of the report:

  • GHG emissions data from the world’s 500 largest businesses (Global 500) have increased 3.1 percent during the study period. (Note that this is concerning given that GHG emissions should have seen a 4.2 percent reduction to meet standards outlined in the 2014 UNEP Emissions Gap Report, intended to provide a path through 2050 to keeping global temperatures within a two degrees Celsius average increase.)
  • The Global 500 is responsible for more than 10 percent of the world’s GHG emissions, which are concentrated among the top 50 firms, who account for 79 percent of all Global 500 emissions.

As my colleague, Tim Nixon, who also co-authored the report, is careful to point out, “as global consumers of industry, we all play a part in this conversation. So this is not about pointing fingers; it’s about transparency.”

When you look at a map in a public place – be it a shopping center or a highway rest stop – there is often a star with the words, “you are here.” This study is our star, showing us where we are on our sustainability map. Our hope is that it can lead to increased awareness of GHG emissions and foster not only transparency, but also innovation and a better understanding among companies and stakeholders like you and me that reduced GHG emissions are an attainable and worthy pursuit.

To review the full report, visit thomsonreuters.com/corporate/pdf/global-500-greenhouse-gases-performance-trends-2010-2013.pdf. You can also read the news release and an article with interviews of the report’s two authors written by Reuters Alister Doyle.