Re-imagining disclosure: Changes to CDP

Published 24th August 2017 by Lucy Haines

CDP 2017 wrapped up at the of July. With the end of reporting season, focus now turns to next year’s disclosure. Each year CDP updates questionnaires in an effort to increase the quality and transparency of company disclosures, as well as to keep up with changing best practice in sustainability reporting.

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CDP annual questionnaires are underpinned by two fundamental principles; the data requested needs to be impactful for investors and other data users, and should drive improved environmental stewardship.

With this in mind, CDP have overhauled the 2018 questionnaire, the changes of which are undergoing a second stakeholder consultation process at the moment. Final questionnaires and scoring methodologies are not due for release until the end of the year. CDP disclosure focuses on the previous reporting year so if you are thinking about how to prepare for the changes to the questionnaire, the time to do it is now. We’ve highlighted some of the most important changes below.

Why are CDP changing the disclosure (again)?

The questionnaires have been updated to reflect two key areas:

  1. Alignment to Task Force on Climate-related Financial Disclosures’ (TCFD) recommendations, released during 2017. These recommendations are intended to help companies understand what financial markets want from disclosure in order to measure and respond to climate change risks, and encourage firms to align their disclosures with investors’ needs. The four areas of focus are Governance, Strategy, Risk Management and Metrics and Targets. CDP has incorporated the recommendations from each of these areas into the 2018 questionnaire.
  2. Sectorisation of the questionnaires to ensure the inclusion and integration of sector-specific questions, responses and guidance for high impact sectors. The sectors to receive a dedicated questionnaire are Agriculture (Food, Beverage and Tobacco, Agricultural Commodities and Paper and Forestry), Energy (Oil and Gas, Coal and Electric Utilities), Materials (Metals and Mining, Chemicals, Cement and Steel) and Transport (Transport Services and Transport Vehicle Manufacturers) 

What are the key changes?

  • The questionnaire structure and flow will be significantly different for 2018 to ensure alignment with the TCFD recommendations. There will be new or modified questions as well as changes to the questionnaires to further align them with other frameworks such as DJSI, SASB, GRI, etc. 
  • However, most core data points will remain the same with a continuing focus on forward-looking metrics, building upon science-based targets work by moving towards scenario analysis and stress tests as appropriate. 
  • Integrating the learnings from the recent Assessing the Low-Carbon Transition work to assess whether companies are on a 2-degree trajectory aims to provide a wider context view of the action being taken by businesses.
  • Sector specific questions have been developed and integrated in to the climate change questionnaire. They will not be a separate group of questions as they have been until now. It is assumed that the relevant questionnaire for your company’s specific industry sector will be provided by CDP in the response dashboard.
  • Sector specific questions have also been integrated in to the water questionnaire for Oil & Gas, Electric Utilities, Metals and Mining, Chemicals, Food, Beverage and Tobacco and Paper and Forestry.

How will this affect companies that respond to CDP?  

There are several key areas for which companies will need to gather additional information in order to respond effectively:

  • Additional governance and risk management information will be required.
  • Inclusion of questions on companies’ approaches to scenario analysis.
  • Addition of section focused on carbon pricing and trading.
  • Sector specific questionnaires are now applicable to supply chain respondents – these are not separate modules but interspersed as additions throughout the general climate change/water/forests questionnaires.
  • Sectorisation now also applies to forests and water.

We will keep you updated on the changes and how to approach CDP 2018 when we have more information at the end of the year. If you have any questions in the meantime, get in touch.

 

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