Fewer than one in ten companies comprehensively reporting emissions

Boston Consulting Group (BCG) and its AI-focused team BCG GAMMA announced the release of a new survey into companies’ efforts to reduce emissions, indicating that many companies are failing to meet their climate goals, and often report inaccurate emissions data.

For the report, “Use AI to Measure Emissions—Exhaustively, Accurately, and Frequently,” BCG surveyed executives from nearly 1,300 organizations with decision-making responsibility for tracking and reducing emissions. The survey found that while there is widespread buy-in regarding the need to improve companies’ climate impact, with 85% concerned about reducing their greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions, but only 11% successfully reducing emissions in line with their ambitions over the past five years.

esg playbook

According to BCG, the greatest impediment for companies to achieving their climate goals is an inability to accurately measure emissions, with only 9% of respondents reporting that they are able to quantify their full Scope 1, 2 and 3 emissions. While value chain emissions (Scope 3) are the most difficult to measure, fewer than 20% of respondents said that they fully measure internal Scope 1 and 2 emissions. Two thirds of respondents don’t report any external emissions, despite these making up roughly 90% of companies’ emissions footprints.

Sylvain Duranton, BCG GAMMA global leader and survey co-author, said:

“When companies aren’t able to understand their baseline emissions levels, how can they expect to track their emissions and set the right targets? For instance, if they are not collecting and analyzing granular data and emissions factors, they can’t expect their measurements to be accurate.”

One of the key barriers to effective assessment, according to the report, was a lack of automated measurement, with only 22% of companies utilizing fully automated processes, and nearly half describing their data collection as fully manual. While 87% of respondents reporting that they want to increase the scope of their reporting, and 66% looking to update their reports at least yearly, half responded that they are missing the automated footprint calculation tools needed to get to the next level.

The report recommends that companies employ AI tools in order to improve emissions measurement accuracy and get on track with emissions reduction. BCG Managing Director and Partner, and report co-author Charlotte Degot said:

“New AI-supported tools can play a crucial role in taking companies to the next level of measurement and reporting and, ultimately, to significant reductions. In fact, our experience shows us that AI can directly enable the reduction of companies’ emissions by as much as 40% through identifying the best initiatives, tracking results, and optimizing company operations.”

Click here to access the report.