• Thirty-two percent of the 100 largest private companies have a net zero goal
  • Compares to 69% of the 100 largest listed companies
  • Private companies also target weaker targets – Net Zero Tracker study

LONDON, Oct 18 (Reuters) – The world’s largest private companies are seriously lagging behind their public market counterparts when it comes to setting climate targets, according to analysis by the nonprofit. Net Zero Tracker released Wednesday.

According to the study, only 32 of the 100 largest private companies have set a goal of achieving net zero carbon emissions, compared to 69 of the 100 largest public companies.

In high emitting sectors such as energy, infrastructure and manufacturing, only 14% of the combined annual revenues of private companies are covered by such a target, compared to 77% of the revenues of listed companies in the same sector.

Join now for FREE unlimited access to Reuters.com

The quality of targets for those who have them is also lower, the study found, with companies less likely to include short-term targets, cover their entire emissions or contain details about how the company uses carbon offsets.

Only four of the private companies with a goal actually had a plan to deliver on their promise, potentially putting companies – and the economies they operate in – at increased risk as the world transitions to a low-carbon economy. , according to the study.

“Private companies are woefully lacking in net zero compared to their publicly traded cousins,” said John Lang, project manager of the Net Zero Tracker.

As listed companies increasingly face mandatory climate-related disclosures, Thomas Hale, a professor at the University of Oxford’s Blavatnik School of Government, said there was a risk that private companies escape scrutiny and gain an unfair advantage.

“Smart regulation is needed to create a level playing field and close a potentially huge loophole in corporate climate action,” he said.

Join now for FREE unlimited access to Reuters.com

Reporting by Simon Jessop in London Editing by Matthew Lewis

Our standards: The Thomson Reuters Trust Principles.