Green Data or Greenwashing? Do Corporate Carbon Emissions Data Enable Investors to Mitigate Climate Change?

52 Pages Posted: 7 Jan 2021

See all articles by Vitali Kalesnik

Vitali Kalesnik

Research Affiliates Global Advisors

Marco Wilkens

University of Augsburg

Jonas Zink

University of Augsburg

Date Written: November 24, 2020

Abstract

Absent mandatory reporting, and although many companies report their carbon emissions, much of the emissions data are estimated by data providers. As we evaluate the forward-looking carbon scores from several popular data providers, we find no evidence that these scores predict future changes in emissions. Further, we find that data on estimated emissions are at least 2.4 times less effective than reported data in identifying the worst emitters and provide little information to identify green companies in brown sectors. Our results debunk the belief that third-party estimated emissions are a satisfactory substitute for company-reported emissions and call for mandatory and audited carbon emissions disclosure.

Keywords: Carbon data, carbon databases, climate-related information, climate-related risks and opportunities, environmental impact of investments, carbon emissions, carbon intensities

JEL Classification: G11, G14, Q51, Q54

Suggested Citation

Kalesnik, Vitali and Wilkens, Marco and Zink, Jonas, Green Data or Greenwashing? Do Corporate Carbon Emissions Data Enable Investors to Mitigate Climate Change? (November 24, 2020). Available at SSRN: https://ssrn.com/abstract=3722973 or http://dx.doi.org/10.2139/ssrn.3722973

Vitali Kalesnik (Contact Author)

Research Affiliates Global Advisors ( email )

16 Berkeley Street
London, W1J 8DZ
United Kingdom
+44 2039299880 (Phone)

HOME PAGE: http://https://www.researchaffiliates.com/en_us/home.html

Marco Wilkens

University of Augsburg ( email )

Universitaetsstr. 16
Augsburg, 86159
Germany
+49 821 598 4124 (Phone)
+49 821 598 4223 (Fax)

HOME PAGE: http://www.wiwi.uni-augsburg.de/bwl/wilkens/team/wilkens_marco/

Jonas Zink

University of Augsburg ( email )

Universitätsstr. 16
Augsburg, 86159
Germany
0049 821 598 4045 (Phone)

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