Transparency—How to use

Sample: All S&P 500 companies
Data: From voluntary GHG reports and mandatory EPA reports.

This website enables you to compare and evaluate a company’s greenhouse gas emissions to help you decide whether to buy from or work for the company. At present, it contains data for 200 of the S&P 500 companies. We are in the process of expanding it to include all 500.

The Transparency page shows whether the company is reporting several categories of information required by the GHG Protocol. The two “Data Comparability” fields show how comparable the company’s data are to other companies’ data. Data are less useful when they arrive later and are for periods that don’t match the reporting periods of the other companies. The Transparency page shows the company’s reporting performance. The Greenhouse Gas Emissions Rankings page principally shows the company’s emissions performance. They are, of course, two very different things.

Transparency score summarizes each company’s reporting performance with a number from zero to ten. The company’s transparency score is the number of data fields the company reported from among the following ten: (1) Scope 1 (a number reported), (2) Scope 2 (a number reported), (3) Scope 3 (a number reported), (4) Biogenic (a number reported), (5) Firm boundary (one of the three recognized boundaries—“equity share,” “financial control,” or “operational control”—reported), (6) GWP assessment (an assessment identified), (7) Calendar year (the company is reporting both its financial and nonfinancial data on a calendar-year basis), (8) GHG report (the company filed a GHG report), (9) Exclusions (the company did not exclude an unquantified amount of emissions from its scope 1 or scope 2 reporting), (10) Assurances (the company obtained third party assurances regarding its GHG data).

We have not ranked the companies by Transparency score because the score treats all data items as of equal value when they are not. Transparency score measures how extensively the company reports, not the value of its reporting. Whether companies reported scope 1 and scope 2 emissions without exclusion is probably the most valuable indicator of transparency. That indicator is the Scope 1+2 column on the Rankings page. Transparency score measures a different dimension of reporting—the number of reporting requirements met.

Reporting is voluntary. If companies don’t report, it is impossible to evaluate their performances. For that reason, potential stakeholders concerned about GHG emissions should make nonreporting companies their first target. Accordingly, in our performance and transparency rankings, we rank the nonreporting companies last.