This year has been momentous for the global climate effort.
In the wake of Donald Trump’s election as US President in late 2016, and his subsequent announcement of the US’ intention to withdraw from the Paris Agreement, some feared a rollback of climate policy this year, as governments and businesses used the political uncertainty as an excuse for complacency.
In fact, we saw the opposite.
From French President Emmanuel Macron’s speech that together “we can make the planet great again” to the joint declaration by the EU and China to continue and increase their efforts to tackle climate change and the vast support for We Are Still In and America’s Pledge, we saw some of the most influential voices reiterate their support for the global transition towards a better world.
And nowhere was this more significant than in corporate boardrooms and city halls. Offering consistency in a time of uncertainty, 2017 saw companies, cities and investors become the bedrock of action on climate change.
Over the last 12 months I’ve had the privilege to witness this first-hand.
From recent meetings with many Japanese companies and their appetite for science-based targets, to sharing a platform with former US Vice-President Al Gore and hearing US cities, companies and states reaffirm their commitment to the Paris Agreement at COP23 for the launch of the first America’s Pledge report; from forging partnerships with the Italian Government to drive forward corporate and city reporting, to Christiana Figueres’ challenge to investors to ensure at least 1% of their capital is in low carbon and clean energy by 2020; and just this week seeing China launch its national emissions trading system and the World Bank announce it will end investments for upstream oil and gas projects, I’ve been inspired by the scale of momentum now being shown for climate action.
And as the world evolves, so does CDP.
Seventeen years ago, we set out to transform capital markets and make environmental reporting the business norm, and this year, with the release of the recommendations of the Task Force on Climate-related Financial Disclosure (TCFD) to mainstream climate information in financial reporting – recommendations that have now been endorsed by 237 firms representing $6.3trn – we are a huge leap closer to realising our ambition.
The TCFD recommendations build on 17 years of CDP’s work driving environmental disclosure. From 35 climate conscious investors and 245 responding companies in 2002, we’ve grown to a movement of some 800 investors representing US$100 trillion, 6,300 companies – spanning 90 countries and representing 60% of global market capitalisation – 500 plus cities and 100 states and regions reporting to CDP across climate change, water and forests.
And just last week, ExxonMobil - the world’s largest listed oil and gas group - announced it will start publishing reports on how climate policy might impact its business, a direct response to shareholder pressure, as investors continue to call for greater clarity.
This is a call CDP is ready to answer. In 2018 we’ll be upgrading our global environmental disclosure system in order to incorporate the TCFD’s recommendations and provide the most relevant and meaningful data for companies and investors. We will continue to offer investors the tools, such as Climetrics, to make the right decisions now.
CDP does not operate in a bubble, and while disclosure is fundamental and fast becoming a business norm, disclosure alone won’t deliver the Paris Agreement.
For this we need unprecedented action. Action on the scale of the 1200 companies who aim to have set science-based emission reduction targets by 2020, the 1400 companies setting an internal price on carbon or those pioneering businesses putting a true price on water, reflecting the environmental, social and business costs of this vital natural resource. Action on the scale of the cities around the globe leading the charge to a zero-carbon, 100% renewable future.
CDP is dedicated to transforming the pace and scale of the global transition. As national governments work towards their 2020 deadline to raise their climate ambition, we will continue our work to provide the next generation of more targeted disclosure, collect the vital insights and provide the tools for change that will allow companies, cities and investors to drive action and cement these issues at the center of the political agenda.
If the last 12 months have shown me anything, it’s that the transition to a sustainable economy is now inevitable.
The more steps we take and the faster we take them, the quicker we will complete this global transformation and secure the benefits. We’ve set the direction, now we need to set the pace.
Together, we can reach a tipping point.