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Listed Companies Have Less Than Six Years to Align With 1.5°C Warming Target, Inaugural MSCI Net-Zero Tracker Reveals

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The world’s publicly listed companies must dramatically accelerate climate action if the 1.5°C warming target set out in the 2015 Paris Agreement is to be met, according to a new quarterly Net-Zero Tracker published by MSCI, a leading provider of critical decision support tools and services for the global investment community.

The inaugural Net-Zero Tracker highlights how the annual emissions of listed companies globally are still at the same level as 2013, despite concerted efforts to place climate change at the top of the global agenda. This includes the 2015 Paris Agreement which set a goal to limit global warming to below 2°C, with 1.5°C the preferred target.

Specifically, the MSCI Net-Zero Tracker highlights that listed companies:

  • Collectively emit 10.9 gigatons* of direct greenhouse gases every year, as of May 31, 2021
  • Need to stay within the remaining emissions budget of 61.4 gigatons of carbon-dioxide equivalent (CO2e) to avoid breaching the 1.5°C threshold
  • Would deplete the remaining emissions budget in less than six years, without any change to their current emissions

Henry Fernandez, Chairman and Chief Executive Officer, MSCI, comments: “For the net-zero revolution to be successful it is critical for investors, companies, financial intermediaries and policymakers to come together to divert the world onto a path towards a sustainable future. Despite the rhetoric since the 2015 Paris Agreement, more immediate action is needed. The MSCI Net-Zero Tracker is a progress report for whether the world can keep the global temperature rise below 1.5°C. Listed companies and other capital market participants have less than six years to meet that target.

“In addition to listed companies taking action to drive the transition to net-zero, there needs to be a reallocation of capital by asset owners and an effective channelling of funds by asset managers and banks. This will help reduce the risks of climate change for the world as we all play our part to avert a climate catastrophe.”

The MSCI Net-Zero Tracker provides a quarterly gauge of climate change progress across a global universe of 9,300 publicly listed companies based on the MSCI All Country World Investable Market Index (MSCI ACWI IMI). The Net-Zero Tracker will bring new levels of transparency to investors and policymakers regarding listed companies’ action on climate, providing aggregate progress on temperature alignment as well as highlighting industry leaders and laggards. The latest report shows that:

  • A number of well-known publicly listed companies reported their indirect (i.e, Scope 3) emissions for the first time, including, Airbus SE, Baidu, Inc., and British American Tobacco plc, but not all the disclosures are comprehensive
  • Westpac Banking Corporation and Booking Holdings Inc., the operator of Booking.com, KAYAK and OpenTable, reported only a small proportion of their total direct and indirect emissions
  • The Procter & Gamble Company and ASML Holding N.V. both reported additional scopes in the previous quarter, to now report all company emissions across most of the relevant categories (i.e, Scope 1, 2 and 3)
  • Coal India Limited was the largest emitter not to report any of its greenhouse gas emissions

Remy Briand, Global Head of ESG and Climate at MSCI, adds: “The MSCI Net-Zero Tracker is bringing a new level of transparency to the climate debate. It will allow investors to monitor whether listed companies have credible plans to reduce their carbon footprint and track the alignment of their own portfolios with the 2015 Paris Agreement. The data in our inaugural Net-Zero Tracker shows the need for a dramatic acceleration in action from the world’s public companies. For those not matching their commitments or lagging, there should be nowhere left to hide.”

About MSCI Inc.

MSCI is a leading provider of critical decision support tools and services for the global investment community. With over 50 years of expertise in research, data, and technology, we power better investment decisions by enabling clients to understand and analyze key drivers of risk and return and confidently build more effective portfolios. We create industry-leading research-enhanced solutions that clients use to gain insight into and improve transparency across the investment process.

Notes to Editors

*Gigaton is equal to a billion tons

This press release contains forward-looking statements within the meaning of the Private Securities Litigation Reform Act of 1995. Forward-looking statements relate to future events or performance and involve risks that may cause actual results or performance differ materially and you should not place undue reliance on them. Risks that could affect results or performance are in MSCI’s Annual Report on Form 10-K for the most recent fiscal year ended on December 31 that is filed with the SEC. MSCI does not undertake to update any forward-looking statements. No information herein constitutes investment advice or should be relied on as such. MSCI grants no right or license to use its products or services without an appropriate license. MSCI MAKES NO EXPRESS OR IMPLIED WARRANTIES OF MERCHANTABILITY, FITNESS FOR A PARTICULAR PURPOSE OR OTHERWISE WITH RESPECT TO THE INFORMATION HEREIN AND DISCLAIMS ALL LIABILITY TO THE MAXIMUM EXTENT PERMITTED BY LAW.

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Contact information

Media Inquiries
PR@msci.com

Sam Wang +1 212 804 5244
Melanie Blanco +1 212 981 1049
Laura Hudson +44 (0) 207 336 9653
Rachel Lai +852 2844 9315

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