CDP forests FAQs

1.
What are the aims of CDP’s forests program?
Deforestation accounts for approximately 10-15% of the world’s greenhouse gas emissions, the equivalent of the entire transport sector. The main driver of deforestation globally is land use change for agriculture.

CDP’s forests program aims to remove deforestation from the supply chains of the commodities causing most deforestation globally (and associated emissions).

2.
Why are investors interested in CDP’s forests information request?
CDP’s forests information request acts on behalf of investors to collect information from over 650 companies on their exposure to deforestation risks through the use of five commodities (timber, palm oil, soy, cattle products & biofuels). These investors recognize that companies which handle these commodities within their supply chains may be exposed to operational, regulatory and reputational risks which are increasing with concerted government intervention in the management of the world's forests. In addition, they are also exposed to the impacts of population growth and climate change on commodity prices and security of supply.
3.
Why should we respond to CDP’s forests information request?
The information request is supported by 240 investors with US$15 trillion in assets, who wish to understand the exposure to deforestation within their portfolios. By reporting to CDP’s forests information request in a manner consistent with other companies, you enable these investors to manage their exposures. The disclosure process is also a chance for companies to communicate more effectively with investors and highlight proactive risk management. Most disclosing companies find the process of analysis very helpful in assessing their own risks, developing timely solutions to potential problems and for benchmarking themselves against other companies in the same sector.
4.
What is the relationship between Global Canopy Programme and CDP’s forests program?
CDP’s forests program was formerly known as the Forest Footprint Disclosure Project, an initiative first pioneered by the Global Canopy Programme (www.globalcanopy.org). CDP began managing FFD’s operations in February 2013 as part of a two year strategic merger to provide companies and investors with a single source of information for the interrelated issues of the climate, water and forests. In February 2014 FFD became fully integrated with CDP to become the forests program. The Global Canopy Programme remains a prime funder for the program and acts as the principal advisor on forests and forest risk commodities to CDP.
5.
How are the companies selected?
Companies are chosen based on economic and environmental criteria (although we also accept self-selected companies):
  • Over 650 of the largest relevant global companies;
  • Indices are used to identify the largest public companies worldwide by market capitalisation and these are filtered according to their known or anticipated impact on the major five ‘forest risk’ commodities (timber palm oil, soy, cattle products & biofuels) through production, trading or procurement; and
  • Private companies with a big impact are added to the list.
6.
My company has not been invited to disclose, is it still possible to provide a response?
Yes, we will welcome responses from any company. Email respond@cdp.net to get an account set up.
7.
Can a parent company report on behalf of a subsidiary?
Questions F0.1, F0.2, and F0.3 of the questionnaire allow the reporting company to identify the coverage of its disclosure with regard to direct operations and the supply chain. These questions refer to the proportion of the company that is included in the disclosure. If the company is reporting only on a subsidiary rather than the whole company (i.e. submitting a ‘Partial’ response), this should be identified in question F0.2 and then clarified in question F0.2a. In 2014 sector leadership eligibility will be dependent on the responses to several questions in the introduction module. Please consult the 2014 scoring methodology for further details.
8.
Will companies be penalized in any way for declining to answer all or part of the questionnaire?
Companies are encouraged to provide as much information as possible and partial information is more useful to investors than none at all. Company responses that provide less information however, will score fewer points than a response providing more detail. Where a company answers ‘No’ to a question, the response should reflect the rationale behind that selection or details on interim strategies and targets that the company is employing to provide that information or take those actions in future years should be provided in order to get full credit for the response. In 2014 sector leadership eligibility will be dependent on the responses to several questions in the introduction module. Please consult the 2014 scoring methodology for further details.
9.
How are companies awarded sector leadership?
Prior to 2014, sector leadership was awarded to companies with the highest scoring response in each sector. However, in 2014 sector leadership eligibility will also be dependent on the answers provided for several questions in the new introduction module. In order to be eligible for sector leadership, company disclosures must meet the following criteria:
  1. In question F0.1, companies must either disclose for the 'whole company' or if 'partial', the exclusions listed in F0.1a must have 'no potential' for deforestation risk.
  2. Question F0.2 and F0.2a: Any exclusions from the disclosure regarding the supply chain must have 'no potential' for deforestation risk.
  3. In question F0.3, a reasonable explanation must be provided for any commodities which are produced or used but have been excluded from the disclosure.
Please consult the 2014 scoring methodology and guidance document for further details.
10.
What is the deadline for responding?
The deadline for responding to CDP’s 2014 forests information request is 30 June 2014.
11.
What if a company wishes to change or update a response?
Submissions and revisions must be made by companies by 30 June 2014 to be included in the annual forests program report. After this date, responses can only be amended by CDP staff and this may incur an administration fee. CDP cannot guarantee that changes made after 30 June 2014 will be reflected in the reports produced.
12.
How is the response assessed?
Responses are reviewed against our scoring methodology. Please note, individual company scores are not published. Aggregate scores per section of the questionnaire for each sector are published in our annual report.
13.
How do you assess the quality of information provided?
This is a voluntary disclosure process, and each company is putting its information to the investment community in the same way as for any other disclosure.

Please note we do not collate information from other sources than the information request. We do this to ensure there is a consistent scoring process and to ensure we are not misrepresenting companies by interpreting on their behalf. The quality of responses are therefore important and we advise all companies thinking of completing for the first time to avail themselves of the guidance and support services provided.

14.
Do you validate these disclosures by undertaking third party verification or certification of the responses?
No, not at this time as management of supply chain risk is an emergent discipline it will take time for a common set of protocols to be evolved to allow for verification. As companies become more familiar with our focus area of deforestation risk management it will be possible to introduce third party assurance.

However, it should be noted that companies that misrepresent their responses to us are putting their reputation at risk. We may, however, comment on any known gap between the performance disclosed and actual activity if additional information comes to light. We are reliant on our signatory financial institutions to take our information and incorporate it into their engagement and assessment procedures to act as a safeguard and we ask for feedback from those meetings where appropriate.

15.
How do companies receive feedback?
Each participating organization will receive a personalised feedback report. In addition we offer feedback sessions with disclosing companies to discuss these reports.
16.
When will responses be available to view?
Responses to CDP’s 2014 forests questionnaire will be published when scores are released to responding companies, in October/November. Only public responses will be listed. Scores will not be released for any respondents to this program.
17.
Are responses in the public domain?
When responding you will be given a choice as to whether your response is made public or non-public. We strongly encourage companies to make their responses public which means that the response will be made publicly available from the CDP website.
18.
What happens to my response if I respond publicly?
Companies agree that a public response to the CDP’s 2014 forests information request will be used by CDP and the Global Canopy Programme in furtherance of their own charitable missions and that the response may be:
  • Made available as soon as it is received by CDP to the forests program signatories, CDP partners, appointed report writers, selected rating agencies and any other parties that CDP or the Global Canopy Programme deem appropriate;
  • Made publicly available at www.cdp.net and stored and preserved on CDP’s servers indefinitely thereafter;
  • Distributed through selected partners;
  • Compiled in CDP databases and made available in original, modified or adapted form (for a fee or otherwise) for use by commercial and non-commercial organizations;
  • Amalgamated with information about the responding company from other public sources including rating agencies and financial information distributors;
  • Used as a best practice example in CDP or GCP literature and research;
  • Used individually or as part of aggregate results in CDP’s reports and in any other research conducted or commissioned by CDP or GCP; and
  • Used in any other way that accords with CDP’s or GCP’s charitable mission.
19.
What happens to my response if I respond privately?
A Companies agree that a non-public response to the CDP’s 2014 forests information request may be:
  • Made available as soon as it is received by CDP to GCP, the forests program signatories, CDP partners and appointed report writers but not to any other parties;
  • Used in the production of aggregate or anonymous statistics in any CDP or GCP report; and
  • The response may still be scored and that score may be published. Please contact respond@cdp.net if you want to find out if your response will be scored.
20.
How often does the questionnaire change?
CDP’s forests program is committed to providing companies and our signatories with a consistent set of data, as well as to improving the discloser experience and the quality of the data provided. Therefore, we implement an annual consultation process that invites input from companies and other relevant stakeholders regarding proposed changes to the questionnaire. Following each disclosure cycle, we review both the questionnaire and the scoring methodology and any changes for the upcoming cycle are proposed and reviewed through a public consultation in September.
21.
What are the benefits of responding to CDP?
CDP is an international not-for-profit organization providing the only global environmental disclosure system. These insights enable investors, companies and governments to mitigate risks from the use of energy and natural resources and identify opportunities from taking a responsible approach to the environment. This provides a platform for a responding company to demonstrate their current actions and achievements and is also a means to spotlight any future plans.

To facilitate ease of reporting for companies, CDP provides one standardized request that enables one response to be delivered to numerous investors. This minimizes effort and maximizes reach on the part of the respondent. Many companies who are new to the process particularly find value in the structure of the questionnaire. Whilst they may not yet have any policies or targets to provide, working through each section can help a company create their own internal strategies and systems, providing a framework for their deforestation policies and actions.

Even as a voluntary respondent, a company can benefit from being seen to be pro-active and forward thinking. As CDP expands the number of companies that receive a formal invitation, it is also good preparation. By starting down the path of reporting now, companies will be better placed in future years to provide the requested information.

22.
How do I participate?
New users must register using the activation link in the invitation sent by CDP; you cannot register for a company response on our website. If you already have an account, you can sign in using your existing username and password.

Your user portal will present you with the programmes to which your company has been asked to respond. You can activate each questionnaire using the relevant link on this page. If you have not received an invitation please contact us at respond@cdp.net.

23.
I've responded in previous years, why do I need to activate again?
While you may have provided a response through CDP in previous years, this activation only applies to the questionnaire for the year you are responding. Our questionnaire undergoes a few changes from year to year, and it is necessary to activate annually on the Online Response System (ORS) to receive the most up-to-date version of the questionnaire.
24.
Can my consultant have access to my online response system account?
The Registered User for a responding company must always be a representative of that company, they cannot be a consultant. However there are two options to give a consultant access to your company response:
  • The Registered User can share their sign in details with the consultant. They should be aware that if they select this option they are still responsible for the content of the response, even if the consultant makes the actual submission; or
  • The consultant can be set up as an additional user, which will give them editing rights but not submission rights. Therefore the Registered User will need to make the actual submission themselves. We will also need written (email is fine) confirmation from the company that the consultant can be added.
25.
My questionnaire is only showing the Introduction page, how can I access the other questions?
When you first access your response, you will initially only see the introduction page. The information entered on this page determines key aspects of the questionnaire, therefore, until you have successfully saved the introduction, you cannot access the entire set of questions.
26.
What is the reporting period for the 2014 questionnaire?
The reporting period for this project is the most recent financial year, or the nearest reporting period to this for your company. Year on year the dates selected must be one year apart.
27.
Why is the "copy from last year" button missing?
The "copy from last year" button is only available on pages of the ORS where there are questions that can have responses imported from last year. This is not always the case as some questions are specific to the reporting year. Further detail on the copy from last year functionality for each of CDP's questionnaires is available in the guidance for reporting companies for the relevant information request.
28.
My response exceeds the character limit; can I continue in Further information?
If your response is being scored then you should note that, unless specifically stated otherwise, this will be on the basis of the answer that is included in the response box for a particular question. This means that any information referenced in Further information, attachments or another question will not be taken into account. You may provide further information if you wish to and this will be available to readers, however this should be additional to your response and it will not be taken into account in scoring.
29.
Why is my "Submit" button missing?
This can occur if you change a Registered User after the response has been started. If this is the case, please contact respond@cdp.net so that it can be reset.
30.
What support is provided to companies to help them disclose?
Comprehensive question guidance can be found on CDP's guidance pages. We will also run webinars throughout the year introducing the project and the forest risk commodities for participants and prospective participants. In 2014 there will be webinars aimed at first time responders and webinars for people and companies already familiar with CDP’s forests program. Many companies are only just beginning to understand their exposures to forest risk commodities and they find that these events help them to develop their policies and associated programmes. Look at the events on our website for more information.
31.
Do companies have to pay to disclose?
No. However, participating companies do have to prepare and submit their responses at their own expense.
 
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