Brainfood: Stat of the Month - Britain's Big Polluters

A small group of top British companies - BP, Shell, Corus, BHP Billiton and Scottish Power-account for a shameful 1% of total world carbon emissions.

Last Updated: 31 Aug 2010

In 2003/04, this corporate quintet were responsible for more than 60% of all the emissions of the FTSE-100 and nearly half the UK's rising total.

And that's before anyone put petrol into their SUV. FTSE performance depends on carbon-reliant industries, an issue that its firms must soon face.

Heavy industry not only produces emissions, but is intrinsically tied to other carbon-generators - such as electricity, the cost of which will escalate as measures come in to curb pollution. The EU's Emissions Trading Scheme sets a cap on emissions and allows firms to trade capacity, thus putting a price on carbon. The effect on the FTSE-100 could be great.

If customers start to feel the effects of carbon-based price hikes, the race will be on to find alternatives. Emissions will then become a key strategic issue. 1% of global carbon emissions are produced by five FTSE-100 companies.

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