8 Mar 21

CDP reporting 2021 – what’s changed since last year

cdp-reporting-2021-blog-sWith CDP reporting season looming, CDP has published its 2021 CDP reporting guidance and released its 2021 questionnaire on Climate Change. The deadline for submissions is 28 July 2021, and the Online Response System (ORS) will open for users to start entering their information on 12 April 2021.

Greenstone, as a gold CDP accredited provider, will be assisting many of its clients with their submissions. Greenstone’s Enterprise CDP reporting software enables the collection, management and analysis of data required for a CDP submission and its team of sustainability consultants, with in-depth knowledge of the CDP reporting system, will be supporting our clients throughout the response process.

In this blog, we discuss the main changes to the 2021 climate change questionnaire.

What has changed for 2021?

95% of the questionnaire has no change or just a minor change compared to the previous year. There are 3 additional questions on low-carbon transition plans and net zero targets, 3 slightly modified questions for emissions targets and low carbon energy sourcing and 12 questions have modified guidance.

New questions:

  • C3 Business Strategy - C3.1a and C3.1b on low-carbon transition plan
  • C4 Targets & Performance - C4.2c on net-zero targets

Removed questions:

  • 1 - SC3.2a on the CDP Action Exchange (only applies to Supply Chain Questionnaire)

Modified questions:

  • 1a and C4.1b on emissions targets
  • 2e on low-carbon energy sourcing


Added questions - low-carbon transition plan

Two questions centred around the intention to publish a low-carbon transition plan in the upcoming years have been added to this year’s questionnaire. This is timely due to the significant increase in net-zero and low-carbon corporate targets and commitments.

Disclosing a low-carbon transformation strategy encourages investors and other stakeholders to evaluate whether a company adapts its business model for success in a net-zero carbon economy. These new questions enable companies to demonstrate transparency over their transition plans.

The new questions are:

  • (C3.1a) Is your organization’s low-carbon transition plan a scheduled resolution item at Annual General Meetings (AGMs)?
  • (C3.1b) Does your organization intend to publish a low-carbon transition plan in the next two years?

Modified questions - Targets & Performance

A few modified questions focus attention on science-based targets and company performance. Again this is very relevant given that over 1,000 companies are working with the SBTi to reduce their emissions by setting science-based climate goals.

The relevance of these modifications

  • The SBTi currently requires scope 1 & 2 targets to be aligned with a global temperature increase well-below 2°C compared to preindustrial temperatures but urges corporations to strive higher towards a 1.5°C trajectory.
  • The new “Target ambition” column allows companies to specify the level of ambition of their science-based targets.
  • In recognising the importance of keeping global warming to 1.5°C, companies are increasingly adopting net-zero targets.

A net-zero target comprises two main elements. Firstly, reducing value chain emissions by an amount consistent with net-zero in global scenarios that limit warming to 1.5C with no or limited overshoot, and neutralising the impact by permanently removing an equivalent amount of CO2 from the atmosphere. Companies are also encouraged to participate in compensation activities during the transition to net-zero. 

Greenstone’s CDP reporting software

Greenstone is a Gold Accredited CDP software partner. Greenstone’s global sustainability management 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 data and supporting information across a diverse organization
  • Consolidate data into internal and external reporting templates

As well as software, Greenstone provides its clients 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 clients through the whole process to ensure they submit a robust, clear and complete CDP response.

Discover the latest news and stay up to date with all the changes regarding CDP disclosure. 

Important Dates

  • January 2021: 2021 questionnaire guidance available on CDP guidance page
  • April 2021: Online Response System opens in the week of April 12
  • July 2021: Companies must submit their response to investors and/or customers using the ORS by July 28 to be eligible for scoring and inclusion in report (where applicable)

On-Demand Webinar | How to prepare for CDP reporting in 2021



Reporting Guidance , CDP , Frameworks