Thirty-four of Switzerland's 100 largest listed companies have set carbon emissions reduction targets. For most of the companies concerned, the targets extend no further than 2012 – long-term strategies remain the exception.

This is one of the important results of the recent questionnaire conducted by the Carbon Disclosure Project (CDP), the Ethos Foundation and Raiffeisen Switzerland, who asked the 100 largest listed Swiss companies about climate change-related opportunities, risks and strategies; 59 per cent responded.

On behalf of the Carbon Disclosure Project (CDP), Ethos and Raiffeisen have asked Switzerland's 100 biggest listed companies about their climate strategy. The rating agency Inrate wrote the report. The responses reveal that only 34 of those companies report to the CDP on their greenhouse gas emissions reduction targets. Most of the companies have relative reduction targets, for example a drop in proportion to production or staff numbers. The emissions of a company that has relative targets can nonetheless rise in absolute terms, should the company step up production or increase its staff.

Lack of a clear political framework prompt most companies to plan no further than 2012

The absence of a national and international legal reference frame for private sector emissions reductions is a source of uncertainty. This is reflected in the questionnaire results: over 60 per cent of the reduction targets indicated extend no further than 2012. Many companies are reluctant to include long-term reduction targets in their strategies in the absence of a clear political framework. In addition, 58 per cent of the companies anticipate regulatory risks with regard to climate change – a substantial increase since the previous year, when only 38 per cent anticipated such risks. This trend reflects the increasing uncertainty about future regulations.

Improved quality of reporting

In all, 66 per cent of the participating companies decided to make their replies public (2010: 60 per cent). Overall, the transparency and quality of the responses to the CDP information request improved, as revealed by the average disclosure score, which rose from 47 to 55 points (out of a possible total of 100). Disclosure scores assess the quality and completeness of a company's response.

The list of companies with indications of their participation, whether they published their responses and their disclosure scores may be consulted on page 37 of the study.