ADEC Innovations ESG Solutions recently hosted a highly relevant webinar on How to Respond to CDP During Times of Global Crisis. The current pandemic has propelled resiliency and sustainability to the forefront for companies and other organizations as they adapt, adjust, and evaluate how they do business amidst global disruption.
In the webinar, our experts outlined specific challenges they anticipate for CDP reporting this year and how to not only address these challenges, but also how to implement best practices and take advantage of opportunities in this changing landscape.
A recording of the webinar is available here. We encourage you to check it out if you would like to deepen your understanding of how to organize responding to CDP in 2020, extract ESG opportunities for the long-term, and get some practical tips and advice for your 2020 CDP response despite these new and unique challenges.
Anticipated Challenges for 2020 CDP Reporting
In 2020, we are seeing the social aspect of Environmental, Social, and Governance (ESG) being impacted significantly, which in turn affects the environmental and governance aspects as well. Alicia Godlove (Senior Manager, ESG Technical Services) highlighted this, stating that “those who have strong ESG principals are weathering the storm better than those that are not.” While transparency and reporting have already been increasing trends for companies, they have become even more crucial now, while investors are increasingly focused on corporate ESG management that help companies quickly respond to and minimize disruptions such as COVID-19.
Developing a complete and comprehensive response to respond to investor demands is dependent on good planning and communication, especially in times of global crisis.
The overall framework and methodology of CDP reporting is complex and requires multi-disciplinary input from all aspects of an organization. Developing a complete and comprehensive response to respond to investor demands is dependent on good planning and communication, especially in times of global crisis. In leveraging our years of experience in CDP reporting, we dive deep into specific challenges that we have seen and anticipate for 2020 CDP reporting and go into detail on the following:
- Keeping up with CDP updates and changes in 2020 methodology.
- How to cope with fewer resources devoted to reporting.
- Challenges in data collection from operations and suppliers.
- Internal communication and coordination when understaffed.
- Setting expectations with your leadership team.
Best Practices for Success
During this period of uncertainty, our experts underscore how ESG can be utilized as a powerful and effective tool in navigating through these specific challenges exacerbated by COVID-19. In the webinar, we discuss best practices in tackling these challenges.
1. Start Early.
The current pandemic further necessitates an early start, as data and information may be more difficult to collect this year. We discuss how factors such as third-party verifications, multiple internal reviews and signoffs, and potential technical issues all compound the challenge of collecting necessary data and information in a timely manner.
2. Know the CDP Timeline.
CDP Scoring Methodology and reporting timelines evolve or change each year to guide the industry. It is important to check for these updates, whether they be major or minor changes, regularly. This year, for example, CDP is unlikely to issue extensions on submission deadlines, which has affected the many organizations that have utilized this option in the past.
3. Utilize Your CDP Resources.
CDP provides a number of documents that serve as valuable resources that we strongly encourage you to use during your reporting. In the webinar, we review:
- The Scoring Introduction describes how scoring is applied to all CDP questionnaires, including thresholds and level criteria.
- The Guidance Document provides an interpretation of the methodology as well as numerous examples to help reporting organizations better understand the questionnaires.
- CDP’s Scoring Methodology, while a dense document at 200+ pages, provides a thorough and transparent breakdown of scoring criteria and point allocation for each question. The Scoring Methodology is a great point of reference to understand each individual question and the exact requirements of the response.
- CDP’s Question Changes and Map explains any changes in the questionnaire from 2019 to 2020 and breaks down details and rationales for revisions.
We also outline other helpful resources available to reporting organizations, including:
- Your CDP Account Manager, who is likely your best point of contact with CDP and can get you a faster response than CDP’s general contact email.
- Your option for a Response Adjustment, should you need to submit a correction for your response post-submission.
- The Score Appeals Process, which allows you to appeal your score if you believe there was an error in scoring. While not an easy process, our team has successfully helped several companies appeal their scores in the past.
4. Be Familiar with the Methodology.
As investors diligently assess a company’s reporting and ESG program, it is vital that you complete all available questions. During the webinar, we explain why all questions are not created equal and how you can maximize your points on focusing on the questions most applicable to you.
5. Be Prepared for Data Gaps.
Since it may be more difficult to collect data and information this year due to the earlier mentioned factors as well as limited staff resources, our experts discuss how you can overcome the complex challenge of data gaps.
Seeing the Opportunity in Crisis
In closing the webinar, we discuss that while we are in the midst of a global health crisis that has compounding effects on companies across industries, it is important to look for the opportunities in adversity. Times of uncertainty and an unfamiliar landscape often call for the need to adapt, innovate, and re-pivot strategies in order to maintain longevity. We delve into how companies are becoming more innovative and resourceful in mitigating these challenges and provide an enlightening discussion that identifies unique opportunities that have resulted from these unprecedented times.
To find out more about these opportunities, watch the full webinar here.
What are the key takeaways in this webinar? During times of a global crisis such as the pandemic we are currently in, new challenges arise, and existing challenges are further exacerbated. However, companies and organizations can effectively organize responding to this year’s CDP reporting by implementing certain best practices and leveraging resources available despite these challenges. In this time of disruption, investors and stakeholders are looking carefully at how companies continue to prioritize, implement, and evolve their ESG programs to mitigate effects of COVID-19 as an indicator for how they will respond to future climate-related risks. Furthermore, there are unique opportunities that arise in these times, where organizations with robust ESG policies are better positioned to manage them. CDP is an excellent and global platform to demonstrate how your company is adapting to COVID-19 and climate-related risks.
Ready to learn more? Watch the full webinar here for a more detailed picture on how your organization can organize your response despite challenges, changes, and more in 2020 CDP reporting.