Carbon Disclosure Project (CDP)

 CDP is a UK based non-profit database organization that seeks to accelerate climate change by placing relevant information at the heart of business, policy and investment decisions. The database contains information that is voluntarily provided by businesses all over the world about their carbon emissions, water usage and their climate change strategies.

It was started in 2000 by 551 institutional investors and encourages all organizations, global, regional and national, to be transparent with their carbon emissions and to improve their understanding strategic risk and opportunity relating to climate change. Currently there are more than 4500 of the largest global companies reporting their carbon emissions.

In South Africa, this data collection is managed on a non-profit basis by two organizations – NBI and Incite Sustainability.

In 2011, 83 of the top 100 JSE listed companies reported on their carbon emissions. The report is not used as a whipping stick on companies that are not doing the right thing about their carbon emissions, nor is it just another window dressing report to show that the organization is doing the right thing. Rather, the report is a tool for the companies to sincerely take steps to minimize their business risk and maximize their business opportunities by implementing sustainable strategies to manage and reduce their carbon emissions. Last year 40 South African companies (up from 2010’s 34 companies) submitted their emission targets. In 2011, all companies that responded to the CDP questionnaire online.

Furthermore public availability has been added and scored according to the CDP’s 2011 scoring methodology as developed by Global Advisor and report-writer. Previously the methodology scored disclosure only, assessing the company’s own response to CDP. Now companies receive a disclosure score called a Carbon Disclosure Leadership Index (CDLI).

The CDLI now goes to highlight leaders in terms of transparency and accountability regarding climate change related issues and the quality of their internal. This can only further business, society and government benefits in joining the CDP and guide them in adopting sustainable strategies towards climate change