photo by C.Grodotzki/Robin Wood e.V. (source: Flickr Creative Commons)

In light of a recent survey naming UK companies as the worst among 300 of Europe’s largest corporations when it comes to their contribution to global warming, another survey has been released, this time focusing only on British firms.

The new list, called the FTSE carbon strategy index, compares Britain’s 350 biggest companies in terms of their response to climate change. The idea is that those companies with the best carbon strategies will also be the most efficient and well run.

From an article in the Guardian:

The new FTSE carbon strategy index weighs up the “carbon risk and performance” of the UK’s largest 350 firms. It compares them on cutting carbon emissions, making their products more energy-efficient and setting the most ambitious reduction targets.

The Anglo-Dutch multinational Unilever, which makes just about every type of consumable you can think of, tops the FTSE list. Unilever plans to cut emissions by 25% by 2012 and has improved its ‘carbon efficiency’ (emissions per ₤) by 40% since 1995.

After Unilever, the index lists BT Group, Morissons and Rolls Royce as the next best-performing major companies. Coal-fired power station operator Drax and low-cost airline Easyjet come in last place.

So what made Unilever get its act together? According to a piece in the Economist entitled ‘The campaign against palm oil: The other oil spill’, pressure from green activist groups, such as Greenpeace, prompted Unilever to promise to source only sustainable palm oil by 2015.

Deforestation and the destruction of peatlands in Indonesia and Malaysia for logging and for conversion to palm oil plantations are responsible for massive amounts of carbon emissions. Unilever is the world’s single largest buyer of palm oil.