CDP logo   May 2014

CDP NEWSLINE: the latest research, announcements, events

Landmark studies highlight the imperative for climate action

The United Nations (UN) Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) published the last two of its fifth assessment reports in March and April. The landmark reports looked at impacts and mitigation respectively, reaffirming the message that the world needs to speed up its efforts in dealing with climate change. For the first time, the panel of experts looked at the costs of mitigation, concluding that it would shave only a tiny fraction off annual economic growth. Following on from the IPCC reports in May came the news that carbon dioxide levels have reached their highest in over 800,000 years.

In May the US published a key climate risk report that gained significant media traction – its National Climate Assessment. The report was part of a broader White House effort to drive home the science and communicate the fact that climate change is a clear and present risk impacting Americans, not a future or faraway one.

About time: Exxon, Total and Shell are finally talking about climate change, says CDP’s Executive Chairman, Paul Dickinson

"The scenario where governments restrict hydrocarbon production in a way to reduce GHG emissions 80% during the outlook period [to 2040] is highly unlikely," said Exxon Mobil recently as it commendably became the first major oil and gas company to produce a report on the impacts of climate change on its business.

However, if dangerous consequences of climate change are to be avoided, the science demands that global GHGs are indeed reduced by 80% by 2050. By implying that governments are impotent in efforts to achieve this, Exxon's statement presents the world with the greatest challenge ever faced. Can this really be a comfort to shareholders – or for that matter, anyone else? Read more in The Guardian.

CDP has sent large oil & gas companies around the world a request for information designed to assess climate change risks that are specific to their sector. CDP sends this request on behalf of 767 investors representing more than a third of the world’s invested capital. Companies have until 29 May to complete this disclosure.

From rhetoric to action: China upgrades its environmental law

In April China passed the first changes to its environmental legislation in over two decades. The new law, which comes into affect 1 January 2015, sets environmental protection as the country’s ‘basic policy’, prioritizing it above economic growth. The revised provisions give its green policies new teeth, allowing for stiffer fines against heavy polluters and penalties for those who fail to enforce the rules. Crucially, the vote also sends a powerful message on how serious China is about environmental action as global powers gear up to the Paris 2015 negotiations on a new global climate deal.

We Mean Business: CDP and partners collaborate with the UN in Abu Dhabi on the road to Paris 2015

CDP’s Executive Director Nigel Topping writes about his recent time in Abu Dhabi, where an influential new coalition of business and civil society leaders has been launched.

Early in May the UN Secretary-General Ban Ki-Moon held the ‘Abu Dhabi Ascent’ summit, where leaders from the business and NGO world gathered to contribute ideas to support preparations for the next legally-binding UN climate change deal in Paris in 2015.

At the summit Peter Bakker of the World Business Council of Sustainable Development announced the launch of a powerful new coalition that brings together CDP, Ceres, The Climate Group, Business for Social Responsibility and the Prince of Wales’ Corporate Leadership Group. This new partnership, called We Mean Business, will be working with more than 500 of the world’s largest companies to amplify the voice of business leaders who seek clear, long-term policy on climate change. Al Gore reinforced the message with a rousing presentation on the high costs of inaction compared to the relatively modest costs of mitigation action. Unilever’s Paul Polman and IKEA’s Steve Howard ensured that the message from business was heard loud and clear by the many government ministers attending.

In the coming months CDP will be working hard with other We Mean Business partners to contribute to the forthcoming UN Climate Summit, to be held in New York in September. The summit will seek to catalyze action by governments, business and civil society to help the world shift toward a low-carbon economy. Discussion points include carbon pricing, policy engagement, scientific target setting methodology, renewable energy procurement, investor engagement of heavy emitters, use of CDP data to assess investor portfolio risk, bold targets from city and regional governments, sustainable sourcing of forest-risk commodities, and preparations for the launch of Climate Week NYC on 22 September. The meeting will also be an opportunity for business leaders to share their expertise in areas such as renewable energy procurement to sustainable sourcing of high-risk commodities. Any companies wishing to find out more about how they can work with CDP in the build-up to the summit should contact CDP’s special projects manager, Sara Law.

Companies risk reputational hit from palm oil

In the first quarter of 2014 a tidal wave of retailers and packaged foods companies made commitments to deforestation-free, sustainable palm oil, including Kellogg and the Delhaize Group (both of which use CDP’s forests program). A study from Euromonitor sets out a clear case for why other companies should follow suit: The reputational hit from not acting is too expensive to risk. Companies have until 30 June to communicate their management of palm oil and other forest-risk commodities through CDP’s forests program.

Businesses need to look after their water supplies – or we all perish, says CDP’s Chief Executive Officer Paul Simpson

While a leading few are beginning to understand the strategic value of water and the benefits offered by a water stewardship approach, there are still too many who are failing to take a broader view of their water-related risks. And for the companies attempting to deal with the complexity of water challenges, there is a steep learning curve that they cannot necessarily overcome alone.

Read more in The Guardian. Companies have until 30 June to demonstrate their progress toward achieving water stewardship through CDP’s water program.

Why are carbon asset stranding risks invisible in corporate reports? Discuss.

In May The Climate Disclosure Standards Board (CDSB) published a discussion paper that asks why the risk of carbon assets becoming stranded as a result of environmental and regulatory factors is rarely mentioned in corporate reports. The paper proposes both changes to existing legislation and new rules that would encourage companies to account for and report in a way that allows investors and others to identify, assess and respond to these risks. The discussion paper is available online for public consultation until 28 May and is linked to the draft update of the CDSB Reporting Framework, also open for consultation.

Responding to investor appetite for CDP data on the oil and gas and food, beverage and tobacco sectors

As part of CDP’s strategic move towards greater focus on priority sectors and the natural capital issues that surround them, work is underway to refine the reporting requirements and disclosure assessments of the oil and gas industry.

CDP’s investor signatories increasingly request sector-specific disclosures, notably on the issue of stranded assets, making the oil and gas sector a priority focus for CDP. In this effort CDP will be working with its investor base, the companies using CDP programs and other key stakeholders in order to identify, inform and address issues relevant to the oil and gas sector.

In addition to work with the oil and gas industry, CDP is also progressing with a focus on the food, beverage and tobacco (FBT) industry group. CDP is this year asking additional specific and relevant questions of FBT companies participating in CDP’s climate change program. CDP will use this information to prepare a report on how climate change is impacting business in FBT. In collaboration with stakeholders, CDP will then assess how to develop work with the sector.

Please contact your account manager at CDP or email respond@cdp.net if you are interested in learning more about either of these two work streams.

Unlock CDP data insights with a new analytics tool

CDP is pleased to announce the launch of its new analytics software. The tool is intuitive and easy to use with a series of dashboards that reflect the main categories from the climate change questionnaire. The data is brought to life with visuals that make benchmarking simple and trends easy to identify, allowing companies to better understand their data. The interactive charts and the underlying data can be exported with one click so the context and any additional narrative can be understood. Please register for a webinar session on 27 May to learn more about the tool and how it can help transform your business.

Europe and North America time zone

Asia-Pacific time zone

zoho analytics chart

Air pollution shows the health impacts of climate change

Air pollution climbed the agenda this Spring as the World Health Organization claimed it was responsible for one in eight deaths worldwide in 2012, the UK saw some of its worst air pollution since 1952 and a new report found about half of the world’s urban population is regularly exposed to unsafe levels of air pollution. The reports illustrate how climate change is not just a significant environmental problem, but also a huge public health issue. Last year’s CDP cities report addressed the issue of how mitigation efforts could bring health benefits, including cutting air pollution. CDP will publish its next research on the relationship between cities and climate change this July.

Video: The carbon footprint of cloud computing

Cloud computing can have significant positive impacts on your business, helping to drive efficiency and improve business performance. But what are the impacts on your carbon footprint? Paul Dickinson, CDP’s Executive Chairman, speaks with the Financial Times about its benefits.

An important step towards global standardization of corporate environmental disclosure to capital markets and other stakeholders

CDP and the Global Reporting Initiative (GRI) have collaborated to ensure that GRI’s climate change-related indicators are now fully aligned with the questions CDP asks of companies on climate change. This harmonization will help reduce the reporting burden on companies by avoiding duplication of disclosure efforts. Further, it will improve the consistency and comparability of environmental data, thereby driving action toward achieving sustainable economies.

A document explaining the linkages between GRI’s reporting guidelines and CDP’s climate change questions is now available. The content of this document will later be extended to explain the alignment of GRI’s guidelines and the questions asked of companies participating in CDP’s water program. CDP and GRI will continue to collaborate for future iterations of the GRI guidelines and CDP questionnaires.

Non-financial reporting reinforced in the European Union

In April the European Parliament voted in favor of a new law governing corporate reporting of non-financial information. Large listed companies in the European Union (EU) will now be asked to disclose their environmental and social impacts as part of their mainstream reporting to investors, helping to increase EU companies’ transparency and potentially influence future profitability.

Through CDSB, a CDP special project, CDP has been directly engaged in the development of standards for non-financial reporting. CDSB’s Reporting Framework for natural capital is a unique tool that will enable EU companies to use data from their CDP response to comply with the new European legislation on non-financial reporting.

Are you looking for support to improve your climate change management?

CDP’s consultancy partners can provide sustainability guidance and support to CDP responding companies and we welcome DFGE, myclimate and Swiss Climate as new silver consultancy partners in Germany, Switzerland, and Austria respectively. We’re also pleased to announce that Schneider Electric will continue as a silver consultancy partner across the UK, US, Brazil, France and Hong Kong.

CDP’s verification partners are accredited under internationally recognized standards to perform verification services and CDP looks forward to working once more with LRQA, who will continue as a global verification partner for the next three years.

This year, CDP and its education and training partners have collaborated to develop appropriate curriculums and materials to be used in CDP disclosure-related workshops that the partners will operate in a number of cities. Please visit our events page to find out more.

ECOHZ, CDP’s new gold partner, is collaborating with CDP on a solution, named GO2, that allows companies to transform the energy system by producing as much renewable power as they consume. ECOHZ is CDP’s first partner in the new renewable power partnership and the leading provider in Europe of Guarantees of Origin, the only way to document renewable energy from production to consumption.

Future Awesome: A new platform for young people to act on sustainability

Future Awesome is a content platform aimed at changing the way millennials (18-30 year olds) think and act about sustainability. The project is now at a crucial point where commitments are being sought from companies to take the platform forward. To find out how you can become one of the 40 partner companies required to launch the platform then please contact mayuri.ghosh@weforum.org.

ON OUR EVENT RADAR

Greenhouse gas target setting workshop, 22 May 2014, Washington DC, USA

WWF, Greenhouse Gas Protocol and CDP are organizing a one-day workshop on a new method to develop science-based corporate greenhouse gas reduction targets.

Those who cannot attend will be able to watch online. Visit the GHG Protocol website to learn more.

CDP at the Carbon Expo, 28 - 30 May 2014, Cologne, Germany

This is the 11 edition of CARBON EXPO, the leading international trade fair and conference for carbon markets and climate protection. Susan Dryer, CDP’s Director of the DACH (Germany, Austria and Switzerland) region, will be speaking at a session on the roadmap to the next global climate change deal. Melanie Wilneder, of CDP’s supply chain program, will also be speaking at a workshop on carbon emissions in the supply chain. Find out more and register.

The Triple Bottom Line Investing Conference, 29 - 30 May 2014, New York, USA

This event invites asset owners, managers and socially responsible investment professionals to participate in a rich program on current trends, opportunities and challenges in the sustainability field. CDP’s Chris Fowle will be moderating a panel on managing climate change and water risks for investments. Register here.

Climate Action: The urgency of business leadership, 11 - 12 June 2014, Paris, France

CDP has partnered with BSR for its inaugural Spring Forum, Climate Action: The urgency of business leadership. Register now to participate in this collaborative event. The BSR Spring Forum will gather 150 leaders from business, civil society, international organizations, and government to catalyze bold, collective action for a low-carbon, climate-resilient economy.

We are joining BSR in this effort to spur business action on climate, as we are on the path to a new international climate agreement at the COP 21 talks in 2015, also taking place in Paris. For information on speakers, sessions, and more, visit paris14.bsr.org.