Plastic waste and pollution are detrimental to our global ecosystems, economies and communities. Whilst this crisis is a major financial risk to companies, it also serves as a significant opportunity. Acting on plastics can create new business opportunities that bring future commercial value.
In 2023, 3000+ companies disclosed on plastics for the first time through CDP, a significant step toward making action on plastics business as normal. However, voluntary action alone is not enough.
As negotiations resume, CDP, alongside leading financial institutions, are calling for governments to ensure mandatory corporate disclosure on plastics is a core element of the Global Plastics Treaty.
With a Global Plastics Treaty in development, now is the time for governments to act. To close the data gap and effectively track progress against targets, governments must agree on a Global Plastics Treaty that includes comprehensive mandatory corporate disclosure.
Through CDP, companies and investors can measure their plastic-related impact to manage risks and opportunities, report on progress with transparency, and commit to proactive action. Companies can disclose their environmental data by responding to our water questionnaire and investors can sign up as an Investor Signatory to request this data from the world’s largest companies and major purchasers.
Plastics has been included in the Water Security questionnaire in its inaugural year to reach the high impact sectors for plastics in the first year of disclosure who are already requested to disclose on water security, allowing us to collect valuable insights and continue to refine our approach to plastics disclosure.
There is a congruence between high impact sectors requested for Water Security and high impact Plastics sectors. An exercise was undertaken with CDP Water Watch to assess whether any of the high impact activities for plastics would not be requested if included within water security and results indicated it would be minimal. This is important as it will allow us to reach crucial actors in the first year of disclosure against plastics.
Aquatic plastic pollution is expected to triple over the next 20 years under a business-as-usual projection, therefore corporate disclosure of plastics impacts is an essential first step to keeping plastics out of the environment and restoring the health of our ocean and freshwater ecosystem.
However, plastic is a cross-thematic issue: its impacts span all elements of the environment. CDP will continue to consider how plastic is incorporated into the disclosure system in the coming years, to ensure we are reaching the right actors and sectors with the right questions.
Plastics is a new, 'exploratory' topic for CDP’s 2023 disclosure cycle. This gives companies time to develop their action plans on plastics, and the responses will allow CDP to refine its approach to plastics disclosure. As such, the questions on plastics will not count toward a company’s CDP score in 2023. In the future, plastics will be scored, however there is not yet an official timeline for this.
CDP’s questionnaires are updated annually in line with frameworks, standards and best practice. The 2023 questions on plastics are exploratory and CDP may add expand this set of questions in the future. Indicators that cover additional value chain stages may be developed in the coming years.
The questions in the 2024 plastics module are not yet determined. CDP’s questionnaires are updated annually in line with best practice, and we value feedback from all our stakeholders.
Whilst the focus for 2023 is on the most problematic plastics production and use (plastic polymers, durable plastics and plastics packaging), in future, CDP may also broaden the scope of activities included in our system to include waste, investments and other areas.
Plastic is a cross-thematic issue: its impacts span across environmental issues. CDP will continue to consider how plastic is incorporated into the disclosure system in the coming years, to ensure we are reaching the right actors and sectors with the right questions.