Sustainability strategies to meet net-zero targets have been criticised as not being clearly defined in the EcoAct Sustainability Reporting Performance of the FTSE 100 report.

Three utility companies ranked inside the top 20 of the list, which scores companies against 64 tailored criteria covering measurement & reporting; strategy & governance; targets & reduction; and engagement & innovation.

SSE was fifth in the ranking, United Utilities was the only water company in the top 20 at 11 and Centrica was placed 13.

The report showed that 45 per cent of the FTSE 100 are committed to reaching net zero by 2050 but only 16 per cent have a strategy to get there.

Those companies classed as “energy, water and multiutilities” outperform others with 60 per cent having made firm commitments to net zero by 2050, of those 40 per cent have outlined a clear strategy to achieve it. Almost all (93 per cent) of those companies were also found to offer low carbon solutions to customers, indicating their recognition of the opportunities of this energy transition.

Stuart Lemmon, EcoAct chief executive for Northern Europe, said: “Although we are encouraged to see an uplift in company commitments to net zero this year, if we are to succeed in this goal, it is imperative that commitments are backed by sound and achievable strategy.”

The report suggested that pressure from investors is driving change and has led to more companies aligning their practices with the Task Force on Climate-related Financial Disclosures (TCFD).

It also showed companies are more likely to be on track to meet carbon reduction targets by setting science-based targets. This year 67 per cent of utilities set science-based targets compared to 50 per cent of all companies.

Find out more about the utilities sector’s plans to Build Back Better in our dedicated series, culminating in the Build Back Better Forum on 20-21 October