In an era of heightened awareness surrounding environmental sustainability and corporate responsibility, businesses are under increasing pressure to accurately report their carbon emissions and sustainability efforts. The Carbon Disclosure Project (CDP) is a vital platform for organisations to transparently share their environmental data, strategies, and commitments. However, successful CDP reporting requires a year-round strategic approach that goes beyond simply meeting July disclosure deadlines.
This article delves into five crucial practices that sustainable businesses should adopt now to ensure effective CDP reporting while fostering long-term environmental stewardship.
1. Don’t lose momentum
Many organisations only start their CDP reporting shortly prior to the deadline and treat the disclosure as a project, but CDP reporting is an integral component of a company’s sustainability strategy. Embedding CDP reporting as part of an ongoing program will ensure that you are checking in on post-CDP actions and laying the foundations for next year’s reporting.
This approach not only bolsters the credibility of your reporting but also cultivates an internal “culture of sustainability” within the organisation. By consistently addressing environmental concerns throughout the year, companies can seamlessly integrate sustainability practices into their operations and prepare for subsequent reporting cycles with enhanced readiness and accuracy.
2. Assurance needs
As the importance of verified greenhouse gas (GHG) data continues to rise, third-party assurance of reported data becomes a key priority. Planning for assurance well in advance is critical. Aligning with third-party auditors' schedules and incorporating verification into the annual reporting cycle ensures a smoother process and minimises the risk of last-minute inconsistencies.
This proactive approach boosts transparency, instils investor confidence, and reinforces your commitment to accurate reporting, meeting both regulatory requirements and stakeholder expectations.
3. Allocating approvals
Establishing a clear approval and sign-off process at the outset of your sustainability program is crucial. Defining stakeholders responsible for providing approvals ensures they understand the time required to align with the CDP reporting deadline. Transparent communication regarding timelines and necessary inputs minimises delays and misunderstandings.
By facilitating a well-structured approval process, organisations can streamline reporting procedures, allowing for more efficient data aggregation, and ensuring that the final submission accurately represents their sustainability endeavours.
4. Coverage review
Understanding your data coverage, particularly concerning Scope 3 emissions, is paramount for comprehensive CDP reporting. Conducting an in-depth analysis post-CDP submission can reveal potential gaps in material categories where data might be lacking. Identifying these gaps ahead of time enables engagement with relevant departments to gather essential information.
This approach ensures a complete representation of sustainability efforts, highlighting accomplishments in emissions reduction and resource conservation across all relevant areas.
5. Recognise the time to agree commitments
Making significant commitments, such as science-based targets and carbon transition plans, demands thorough planning and alignment. These commitments often need months of defining, stakeholder engagement, and internal approval processes. Identifying the support required, both internally and externally in advance, assists the clear definition and approval of commitments well before the CDP reporting deadline. This proactive strategy ensures that commitments reflect your organisation's sustainability strategy.
By incorporating these five practices into their sustainability strategies, businesses can go beyond meeting the CDP reporting requirements. Proactive planning, ongoing momentum, data assurance, streamlined approval processes, and comprehensive data coverage all contribute to a holistic and accurate representation of an organization's commitment to sustainability.
Greenstone and CDP
Greenstone has been part of CDP’s Accredited Software Program since 2013. As a Gold Accredited CDP software partner, Greenstone’s global ESG software has been designed to meet the requirements of CDP reporting and has a suite of dedicated tools to streamline the process. This includes GHG Protocol aligned data collection covering Scope 1, 2 & 3, climate change risks and opportunities, and an initiatives savings functionality for analysing savings against targets.
Using Greenstone’s software companies can:
- Define bespoke question sets from a range of reporting frameworks, including CDP, SASB, GRI and SDGs
- Collect and approve data and supporting information from across the business
- Consolidate data into internal and external reporting templates
As well as software, Greenstone provides its customers with support services to help them improve their reporting and achieve their broader sustainability goals. With in-depth knowledge of the CDP reporting system, our team of industry experts work closely with our customers providing different channels of support. Professional services including mock scoring, gap analyses, guided strategy consultancy and project management.
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