Companies who have been asked to complete the CDP questionnaire have until 31st of July to provide their answers. Below an overview of the main hurdles to address for a successful CDP participation.
Several CDP Questionnaires
CDP is not-for-profit charity that runs the global disclosure system for investors, companies, cities, states and regions to manage their environmental impacts. CDP actually runs three questionnaires: Climate Change, Water and Forests. The core version of each questionnaire is complemented with an additional module for the Supply Chain participants, e.g. the companies required by their customers. If you are part of these sectors, you will also have further sector-specific questions:
- Agricultural commodities
- Electric utilities
- Food, beverage & tobacco
- Metals & mining
- Oil & gas
- Paper & Forestry
- Transport OEMs
- Transport OEMs-EPM
- Transport services
Although the combinations are multifold, the logic behind the CDP questionnaire remind the same: you need to show your efforts in terms of governance, strategy, engagement, risks and opportunities related to these topics, and provide relevant indicators, to summarize it in a nutshell.
Overcome the CDP questionnaire hurdles
If this is the first time you are answering the CDP questionnaire, the amount of required information might be unsettling. First, you will have to prioritize. In order to do so, you have to understand what the most important modules are: we recommend reading the Scoring Introduction, to understand the basic principles. Then, you can set a target: we want C or C- for example (Awareness level)
After that, you should read the questionnaire with the Scoring Methodology open, to understand which information you need to collect. Formalizing them into a Data Management Plan can be a good tracking tool.
However, you can’t do it on your own: you need the support and data from your colleagues. Involve the environmental manager, risk manager, product/R&D manager, HR manager, to ask about your current practices and where to find the data. Data collection is one of the challenges. You should tap into existing data sources and set up a simple data collection process. Such process should also be coupled with other projects (e.g. if you have a sustainability report, you might also want to be in touch with such managers, so you can address two projects with one process)
In any case, we recommend as a bare minimum to fill all questions, to focus on risk and opportunities, and to provide indicators (e.g. the Carbon Footprint and energy consumption for the Climate Change Module).
When focusing on risks and opportunities (and in other parts of the CDP questionnaire), you will be asked to provide company-specific description and case studies. Pay close attention to the Scoring Methodology Introduction, where the requirements are properly described.
Plan for the future
For the repeaters, you should screen through the changes in the new questionnaire to check potential new requirements. Then, identify the data that need update and start collecting data internally. We also recommend setting up improvement areas after completing the CDP questionnaire, to have enough time to implement them during the year, and to report them for the next CDP questionnaire.
Further resources to answer the CDP questionnaire
CDP has a guidance download center . Here you will find the questionnaires, the changes from 2018 to 2019, the Scoring Methodology, the Guidance or the Scoring Introduction.
Still unsure of your answers? You can also opt for various external support options, like the DFGE’s. We have partner with CDP for several years and have supported many companies, from DAX companies to SMEs.
We hope that this article gave you some hints on how to tackle the CDP questionnaire and wish you a nice CDP season!