Ryanair denies snubbing influential climate change survey

Kingspan only Irish firm on list of companies leading global climate change mitigation

Ryanair,  being named on the non-responders list,  is at odds with the airline’s efforts to address emissions. Photograph: Rui Vieira/PA

Ryanair, being named on the non-responders list, is at odds with the airline’s efforts to address emissions. Photograph: Rui Vieira/PA

 

Ryanair has been named on a list of the world’s largest companies that ignored a major survey, carried out on behalf of more than 800 international investors, relating to how companies are managing risks posed by climate change.

However, a spokesman for the carrier said it has no record of being contacted regarding the report, published this week by the influential investor-backed lobby group CDP, formerly known as Carbon Disclosure Project.

The report by CDP, which collects data for global investors with more than $100 trillion (€92 trillion) of assets under management, including BlackRock, Goldman Sachs Asset Management and Aviva Investors, named Kingspan on its so-called Climate A List of companies “who lead climate change mitigation”. Others on this list include Microsoft, Citigroup and Unilever.

The report’s publication occurs just days before the landmark Paris accord on climate change, agreed last December, takes effect on November 4th. The deal, agreed by 195 countries, aims to keep the increase in global average temperature to well below 2 degrees above pre-industrial levels.

Energy conscious

Kingspan’s presence on the CDP list for the second year in a row is of little surprise, given the group’s business model profits from selling insulation products to help energy-conscious customers. However, Ryanair, operating in a polluting industry, being named on the non-responders list, alongside groups such as Warren Buffett’s Berkshire Hathaway and Facebook, is at odds with the airline’s efforts to address emissions.

Of 30 Irish-based companies contacted for the purposes of the survey, only nine responded, according to CDP. However, they equated to two-thirds of the value of the Irish market. While all the Irish participants said addressing climate change was part of their business strategy, only 44 per cent reported absolute emission reduction targets.

Kingspan’s chief executive Gene Murtagh said on Tuesday that the Cavan-based group is on track to achieve a commitment to have its 90 manufacturing sites running entirely on renewable power by 2020. That compares to 57 per cent of its consumption in 2016.

“The building sector contributes around 30 per cent of global annual greenhouse gas emissions and consumes up to 40 per cent of all energy, which means our sector has a crucial role to play in helping countries hit the new targets set by last year’s Paris agreement,” he said.

Emissions

Meanwhile, Ryanair’s annual report shows that its carbon dioxide emissions rose to 8.64 million tonnes in the 12 months to March from 7.76 million for the previous year. However, emissions fell 5.6 per cent on a per-passenger basis, as the number of people carried on its planes jumped 18 per cent to 106.4.

The report noted that Brighter Planet, a US sustainability technology company, has named Ryanair “the industry leader in terms of environmental efficiency and the company is constantly working towards improving its performance”.

Ryanair also has the “lowest emissions intensity” of any airline on a global benchmark equity index, known as the MSCI All Country World Index, helped by its relatively young fleet of planes.