Addressing deforestation, which accounts for 10-15% of the world’s GHG emissions (equivalent to the entire transport sector), is critical for the mitigation of climate change. The main driver of deforestation globally is land use change for agriculture.
Businesses’ production and procurement decisions have the power to alter global demand for the agricultural commodities that are the primary drivers of deforestation and forest degradation: timber, cattle products (leather, beef), palm oil and soy. These commodities are the wealth generators that feature in the supply chains of countless companies across sectors and present opportunities as well as regulatory, reputational and operational risks.
CDP’s forests information request acts on behalf of investors to collect information from over 700 companies on their exposure to deforestation risks through the use of four commodities (timber, palm oil, soy and cattle products). 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.
The information request is supported by 298 investors with US$19 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.
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.
Companies are chosen based on economic and environmental criteria (although we also accept self-selected companies):
- Over 700 of the largest relevant global companies.
- Companies on the MSCI All Country Index with a market capitalization above US$2 billion were filtered according to their known or anticipated impact on the four commodities through production, trading or procurement.
- Private companies with a big impact or key role in the value chain of these commodities were added to the list.
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.
The deadline for responding to CDP’s 2015 forests information request is 30 June 2015.
Submissions and revisions must be made by companies by 30 June 2015 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 2015 will be reflected in the report or any other literature produced.
Responses are reviewed against our scoring methodology which will be available on our website towards the end of March. Please note, individual company scores are not published.
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 sources other 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.
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.
Each participating organization will receive a personalised feedback report. In addition we offer feedback sessions with disclosing companies to discuss these reports.
Responses to CDP’s 2015 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 publicly released for any respondents to this program.
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.
Companies agree that a public response to the CDP’s 2015 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.
Companies agree that a non-public response to the CDP’s 2015 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 email@example.com if you want to find out if your response will be scored.
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.
CDP’s forests program has grown significantly both in geographic coverage and in scale over the past 2 years. This expansion has made the assessment and analysis of data based on previous years’ questionnaire and scoring methodology increasingly challenging. To address these challenges, CDP’s forests questionnaire has been revised significantly for 2015 through an extensive internal review and external technical consultation process. The revised questionnaire seeks to achieve the following:
- Provide a logical structure that guides companies through the journey of removing commodity-driven deforestation from their value chain and improve their understanding of deforestation-related risks;
- Facilitate greater and more robust disclosure while reducing reporting burden, where possible;
- Provide structured disclosures that allow, to the extent possible, the automation of the forests scoring methodology;
- Produce responses that lend themselves to effective engagement between external stakeholders and companies, allow companies to demonstrate progress and good practice, and allow stakeholders to identify and engage with companies that do not take action.
In addition to a significant change in the structure of the questionnaire, CDP has also made some changes to the questions, which can be summarized as follows:
- Overall, the questions have become more structured and less open-ended, both to offer companies guidance on removing deforestation-related risk from their value chains and to improve data quality and CDP’s ability to score company responses. Questions now allow for structured responses in tables that feature the various components of a question in separate columns and new drop down menus;
- Question paths have been created for companies operating in different stages of the value chain in the traceability (F6.1–F6.3), standards and targets (F9.1, F9.2) and engagement (F10.2–F10.4) sections. These question paths feature two different questions for the production/processing/trading and the manufacturing/retailing stages. The questions presented to responding companies in these sections will be determined by their selection of relevant value chain activities in the introduction (F0.2); and
- Questions have been reworded for clarity and reordered and/or restructured to avoid repetition and reduce the burden of response, where possible.
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 or may have been revised. For 2015, the forests questionnaire has undergone a comprehensive revision to support the forests program’s plan to grow in scale and ambition, drive the desired change in company practices, and enable effective analysis of data going forward. Therefore, importing responses from last year is not possible for the 2015 cycle. However, this option will likely be available again in 2016 as we do not anticipate significant changes to the new structure.
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.