CDP Announces Climate Change Reporting Changes for 2015

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The following post is provided by our guest author, Karen Lutz from TRC Environmental Corporation. Karen can be reached at klutz trcsolutions.com.

CDP, an international nonprofit organization that provides a global system for measuring, reporting and managing vital environmental information, is issuing requests to thousands of companies this month, asking them to report business risks, opportunities, management strategies and performance metrics related to climate change. CDP issues the request on behalf of 767 institutional investors with $92 trillion in assets. The disclosed information is published by CDP for integration into business, investment and policy decision making processes.

CDP aligns with the Global Reporting Initiative (GRI) G4 reporting framework for sustainability, enabling companies to assure/verify both concurrently. Third-party verification is not mandatory under CDP or GRI, but encouraged by both, reflecting the growing demand for credible data in sustainability reporting.

What’s New?

This year, the due date for responses to the Climate Change Program disclosure report has been moved to June 30, in order to align with the due dates for the Water and Forest footprint disclosure responses. Supply chain disclosure requests are scheduled for release on April 1 with responses due July 31.

There are a number of additional changes which are administrative, with a couple of key ones reflecting the maturing approach to reporting, with impacts to scoring. Besides the new reporting deadline, the key 2015 reporting changes include:

  • Several new questions introduced to the Strategy section of the questionnaire, including questions asking whether the company has set an internal price of carbon and questions asking whether the board would support an international agreement on climate change.
  • On the Risks and Opportunities pages, the guidance around physical climate change has been updated in alignment with the IPCC Fifth Assessment Report.
  • A verification threshold of 70% of both Scope 1 and Scope 2 GHG emissions by a third party has now been added. This threshold must be met in order to be awarded full points for questions related to verification activities and in order to be eligible to be listed in CDP’s Climate Performance Leadership Program Index (CLPI).

The Greenhouse Gas Protocol (GHG Protocol), which provides a common framework for corporate greenhouse gas accounting, also recently updated its Scope 2 Guidance. A decade-long partnership between the World Resources Institute (WRI) and the World Business Council for Sustainable Development (WBCSD), the GHG Protocol serves as the foundation for nearly every GHG standard and program in the world – from the International Standards Organization to The Climate Registry – and is used by 85% of companies that report their emissions to CDP.

The new guidance is the most significant update to the Corporate Standard since its inception, standardizing how emissions from purchased or acquired electricity, steam, heat, and cooling are measured. The practices explained in the Scope 2 Guidance are now required for companies that wish to comply with the GHG Protocol Corporate Standard.

For more information regarding 2015 reporting, download a copy of the 2015 reporting guidance.

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DISCLAIMER: Because of the generality of this update, the information provided herein may not be applicable in all situations and should not be acted upon without specific legal advice based on particular situations.

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