With the 2022 CDP season behind us, now is the time to take steps for future progress. We’re taking a look at what you can do to prepare for next year’s disclosure. What steps can you take before 2023 to set your organization up for sustainability success? How can you improve your ESG (environmental, social, governance) reporting workflows and program performance?
Browse our CDP checklist of six things you can do right now to gear up for a successful 2023’s CDP reporting season.
- Rest and reflect
- Reassess your process in light of upcoming changes
- Review any gaps
- Retool 2023 plans
- Recognize your resources
- Reach out
1. Rest and reflect
After your disclosure has been submitted, you have some time to catch your breath. Take these quieter moments to reflect on this past season, and ask yourself a few key questions that will be helpful as you move into prepping for next year’s reporting.
- What topics were difficult to answer?
- Who did I communicate with to get the data I needed?
- Was that process easy?
- Do those subject-matter experts (SMEs) have enough context and training to answer my questions and meet future ESG reporting requirements?
- What parts of our CDP reporting process can be made more efficient? How?
- What other workflows are using similar data? E.g. CSR reporting, ESG reporting, financial disclosures
- Who is involved in these workflows?
- Is there any overlap between the data from those workflows and CDP reporting? How can we utilize and align these overlaps and schedules?
2. Reassess your process in light of upcoming changes
The ESG reporting environment is in constant flux. As new research arises, standards change, and new regulatory policy comes into play, your reporting will need to evolve. Before leaping into action, consider recent and upcoming changes in the ESG space. How will these changes affect your organization and your ESG programs?
- What parts of the CDP questionnaire were new this past year? Were they scored? If not, will they be scored and/or weighted more heavily next year? Stay on top of the latest changes to CDP’s methodology.
- Are we—program managers, staff, SMEs, etc.—prepared to deal with these new questions and topics? If not, what changes do we need to make within our organization to better prepare by next year? E.g. internal education on ESG, establishing a sustainability council, or adjusting policies on ESG topics.
- What kinds of tools and support do we need to improve our process efficiency, address gaps, and be more proactive? Should we consider ESG data management systems or software, reaching out to consultants, or other external support?
- Regulatory agencies—such as the U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC)—are demonstrating greater interest in company ESG data. How can we improve documentation and sourcing of the data that we include in CDP reporting and other ESG reporting platforms?
3. Review any gaps
Did you perform any mock scoring or gap analysis before submitting? If so, it’s time to revisit those analyses. Did these reports mention any questions or topics that you did not get a chance to address before submission? In what questions or topics do you have room to improve? What can be accomplished and implemented in the remaining months of 2022 for reporting in next year’s CDP disclosure?
Address these gaps efficiently. There may be alignment of these gaps across reporting platforms, programs, and policies. Ask yourself these questions to help prioritize your efforts:
- Do the gaps in your CDP reporting also exist in your reporting on other ESG platforms?
- What is needed to address those gaps? Changes in policy, action, better data?
- How can addressing these gaps also provide benefits and value to your business model, customers, internal staff, and/or other stakeholders?
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4. Retool 2023 plans
Armed with knowledge gained from reflection and review, you're ready to start thinking about plans for 2023. Start with what’s left of 2022 before moving on to the 2023 disclosure cycle and beyond:
- What tasks can you accomplish in the next three months of 2022 that can be reported on in 2023?
- What tasks need more internal buy-in, consideration, and time that should instead be pushed to 2023?
You may also find it useful to break down the disclosure cycle into distinct phases:
- August-December: Reflect, implement, prepare
- January-March: Plan, align, explore
- April-July: Report, discuss, execute
Consider how to manage your growing list of subject-matter expert interviews and input, various levels of review, and data collection alongside internal priorities and other tasks vital to your reporting process.
It’s also useful to start thinking ahead: What can you prepare for during the 2023 season in order to meet goals for after the 2023 season? Start putting those plans together now to get the most out of the time that’s left.
5. Recognize your resources
You are not alone in this process. There are a wide variety of tools and resources available to CDP responders that can help take pressure off of reporting teams, help prepare you for CDP success, and support you in improving your ESG reporting programs overall.
6. Reach out
There are many groups and individuals—both internal and external—that can offer support as you continue developing your CDP and ESG programs. Consider:
- Who in your organization would also benefit from the outcomes of your CDP and ESG roadmaps?
- Who in your organization may be able to offer support?
- Are there peers who you can talk to about lessons learned, best practices, or other aspects of ESG reporting?
- Are there roundtables or other industry coalitions that you may be able to reach out to?
- Are there any aspects of your program that would benefit from the work of a consultant?
With constant changes to CDP's methodology and increased external pressure to improve ESG reporting as a whole, there's no better time than now to start preparing for the 2023 CDP season.
With ADEC ESG Solutions, you can be sure that you’re getting the most up-to-date knowledge and best practices on ESG data and reporting, rooted in years of experience working with companies, investors, and stakeholders across every industry.
We're a CDP silver Climate Change consultancy partner and offer expert services to CDP responders, including Performance Review Calls and Scoring Assessment services, which provide fully customized recommendations on how to improve your response. Our on-demand services also provide a flexible and tailored approach to work with and get support from our ESG experts on your strategic planning, tactical implementation, or any other needs in this fast-paced, ever-changing ESG landscape.