Reporting forest risk commodities

Annually CDP’s forests program assists companies to disclose on the five forest risk commodities most responsible for deforestation globally. Whether or not you have received an information request on behalf of our investor signatories you can report to the program to better understand and address your exposure to deforestation risks.

Find out more below or if you have any further questions please get in touch with our disclosure support team at respond@cdp.net.

Why participate?

There are a number of benefits for companies that disclose to CDP, including:

  • Investor communication: 240 investors with US$15 trillion in assets wish to understand the exposure to deforestation within their portfolios. Investors are being increasingly proactive on deforestation risk: for example in 2013, NBIM announced the divestment of the Norwegian Government Pension Fund Global, the largest sovereign wealth fund in the world, from 23 timber companies & 2 palm oil companies due to concerns over deforestation risk.
  • Stakeholder communication: increased transparency and effective communication with other stakeholders including clients and consumers.
  • Internal risk management: review risk management processes and stimulate work with suppliers and customers to develop timely solutions to potential problems, improving the resilience of the supply chain.
    • Regulatory risks: With increasing international pressure to address food security and build a sustainable economic model, more rapid regulatory change is only to be expected across commodities. For example, illegal timber regulations prohibiting the import of illegal material are being implemented in the EU, USA & Australia. Companies dependent on forest risk commodities, and their shareholders, are at risk from losing the value that access to artificially low-cost resources from the use of recently deforested land brings. Disclosure and voluntary action is the best defence that business has against heavy handed or ill thought-out legislation, and the best preparation for future legislation.
    • Operational risks: Extreme weather events across the world are timely reminders of the vulnerability of commodity supply chains especially in the face of climate change. For example, extreme weather events in 2012 resulted in the worst global harvest in years, depleting food reserves and contributing to a hike in global food prices.
    • Reputational risks: High profile NGO campaigns can impact badly on a company’s reputation and can originate from and impact on other parts of the same supply chain. For example, the European ‘horse meat scandal’ in 2013 revealed very publically the lack of traceability and verification in some retail companies’ supply chains.
  • Opportunities: Many of the disclosers to the forests program report on the opportunities associated with sourcing sustainable commodities. e.g. brand differentiation, stakeholder support, capacity building and innovative solutions to the problem of sourcing these commodities sustainably.
  • Benchmarking: understand performance and progress. The forests program provides individual level feedback with a (non-public) score to allow benchmarking against others in the same sector.
  • Staying ahead of the curve: we provide information on commodity challenges globally and have a good understanding of the global NGO/policy agenda.
  • Collaboration: CDP provides a central point for exchange of information, research and best practice case studies on deforestation issues, encouraging innovation through exchange and collaboration.
What do investors want to know?

The 2014 information request is sent out to companies on behalf of 240 investor signatories with US$15 trillion in assets. The questionnaire reflects the concerns of these investors, as well as other stakeholders, including:

  • Are any of your operations or critical suppliers exposed to deforestation risks – regulatory, operational or reputational?
  • What systems do you have in place to manage your supply chain and to ensure traceability of products?
  • How confident are you that you will have access to the quantity and quality of commodities required to operate now and in the future?

Responding to this information request or self-selecting to submit a response communicates this information to key stakeholders and can add value to your business.

2014 Information Request
In 2014, the Forests Information Request will be sent to over 650 of the world’s largest companies that have operational or supply chain risks related to one or more of the major five ‘forest risk’ commodities: timber products, palm oil, soy, cattle products and biofuels. In addition we welcome responses from self selected companies. For further information about how we select companies to participate please visit the company selection page.
How to get started

All responses to our questionnaire must be submitted to us through the CDP online response system (ORS).

If you have reported to us before and we have your contact details, you will receive an email invitation at the start of each disclosure period. Otherwise, to respond please email respond@cdp.net at any time before or during the disclosure period.

Companies reporting to CDP's forests program can submit their information so that it is viewable on our website or restrict access so that it is viewable only by our investor signatories. Please note that companies can start by submitting a partial response just looking at part of their business or a selected commodity. However, in 2014 sector leadership eligibility will be dependent on the responses to several related questions in the introduction module. Please consult the 2014 scoring methodology for further details.

Support for responding companies
We recommend that disclosing companies read the guidance document, which provides essential information and support for each question in the questionnaire. You can find our guidance document and other helpful information in the guidance section of this website, alongside answers to frequently asked questions.
Reporting timeline

February: Forests information request sent to target companies

30 June: Deadline for companies to respond to the questionnaire

October/November: Public forests program response data is published on our website

Legal and General
[The forests program] provides a vital framework for key industries to disclose exposure to commodities that threaten global forests, allowing investors like us to gain valuable insight into management’s commitment, robustness of their process and control over their supply chain networks.

Meryam Omi,
Head of Sustainability,
Legal and General

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