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How to Get More out of CDP 2015 Climate Change Reporting

casseres burwell & fontaniniThis month, companies will report their greenhouse gas emissions and climate change strategies through the CDP. Rather than completing another “check the box” reporting exercise, we’d like to share five tips for leveraging the CDP climate change questionnaire to advance your corporate program and stay ahead of this ever-evolving issue.

1. Conduct a gap assessment

The CDP disclosure provides a holistic, structured way to think through all aspects of your climate change program from your governance structure to climate change risks to goal setting. By systematically reviewing your company’s approach against questions in the disclosure form as well as those from best-in-class companies, you can identify gaps and opportunities for improvement.

2. Evaluate climate risk

The past is no not an indicator of the future. With an unprecedented number of extreme weather events, leading companies are making sure that they are taking proactive steps to strengthen infrastructure and develop emergency management plans to protect employees and their investments. Now is the time to think strategically about the future and prepare.

3. Set meaningful targets

While some companies are hesitant to set emissions reduction goals, CDP awards the most points to those companies that both set and meet absolute and intensity goals for good reason.

The scientific community calls for action to reduce greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions by 85% by 2050 to try and keep the planet below a 2°C temperature rise. Look for guidance later this year from CDP, UN Global Compact, the World Resources Institute (WRI), and the World Wildlife Fund for setting science-based targets that are aligned with meeting global targets. This includes developing an interim roadmap, so your company can make year-on-year progress.

4. Value carbon

With a quarter of the world’s emissions in cap and trade schemes by 2016, companies need to anticipate the financial impacts of carbon. In the 2014 CDP report, 29 US-based companies disclosed their internal price of carbon ranging from $6 to $80 along with information on how this carbon price is applied to decision-making.

5. Look upstream and downstream

For many companies, their biggest value chain impacts lie outside of their owned and operated facilities. CDP has challenged companies to quantify their impacts up and down their value chain to identify hotspots and take action. Upstream, these hotspots can provide opportunities for reducing GHG emissions and costs. Downstream, they may lead to product innovations that benefit customers and grow your top line.

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