More than two thirds of Irish companies that set externally verified climate emissions targets scored a score of at least B- last year, according to the environmental charity CDP Ireland.

That is up from just over a third in 2017 and compares to only a quarter of companies globally achieving a similar ranking last year.

CDP's Climate Change Report 2020, published today, shows that 47 Irish headquartered companies reported on their carbon emissions last year, up from 31 in 2019.

"The willingness of companies to participate is a recognition that investors, customers and employees have high expectations of the level of disclosure and transparency they receive on environmental factors," the report says. 

New respondents in 2020 included well-known listed companies like Ryanair, Glenveagh Properties, Hibernia REIT, Uniphar, Cairn Homes and semi-state companies Gas Networks Ireland and CIE.

The top 10 ranked Irish companies were all graded either A or A-, with AIB, Accenture and Kingspan taking the top three positions.

"Despite the challenges of Covid-19, there was a massive 52% increase in Irish companies reporting to CDP in 2020," Shane O'Reilly, Chairman of the CDP Ireland Network said.

"These companies are making a clear signal to their key stakeholders of their serious intent to address climate change issues. Participating companies outline how they address climate change in their businesses, products and supply chains, and have their progress independently verified by CDP's experts."

Companies looking to improve their performance in their CDP ranking can do so by making commitments on reducing carbon emissions through the Science Based Targets Initiative (SBTi). 

The average amount of carbon dioxide emitted by 257 companies with operations in Ireland reporting to CDP was 50,483 tonnes, a decrease of 24% on the level in 2019.