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Demystifying CDP Disclosure: Key Considerations For Submission

21 May, 2021

Our new Director of Sustainability, Faye Bennett-Hart reflects on her prior experience leading the questionnaire and scoring teams at CDP and highlights key points organisations need to keep in mind to ensure a smooth submission.

Faye Bennett-Hart
Written by Faye Bennett-Hart
Demystifying CDP Disclosure: Key Considerations For Submission

CDP is known as the gold standard for environmental disclosure and runs the largest environmental reporting system globally. CDP works with over 590 investor signatories with over US$110 trillion in assets. Investors and purchasers request their companies disclose through CDP on an annual basis, across up to three environmental themes - climate change, water security and forests. If you received the request to respond this year, you are being asked on behalf of your investors and or customers.

Over 10,000 organisations reported into CDP last year (even during the backdrop of the global pandemic) and with expectations that will continue to grow exponentially as it has done over the last 20 years of CDP’s history.

Over the last 3 years, I led the highly talented teams developing the questionnaires, guidance materials and scoring methodologies at CDP. Over the years I observed how the strong reporting framework enabled companies to make those all-important strides towards environmental stewardship through improvements in CDP scores, moving from just basic disclosure and awareness scores through to the A’s and B’s of management and leadership levels. Even to the dizzy heights of the coveted A list, showing the greatest level of environmental leadership that CDP can bestow. However, there are certain A list criteria that need to be met in order to break through into this prime leadership territory.

This year is a critical year to optimise your CDP response. There have been minor changes to questionnaires and scoring methodologies over the last two years, so if you have been improving your score incrementally, now is the year to make sure you are completing your disclosure fully and accurately reflecting your company’s environmental credentials, making sure that you aren’t missing out on any important points.


1) Be aware of pre-populated responses

If you regularly respond, a response to a question may be pre-populated from the prior year. Make sure you are aware of which responses have prior year information and update the information as necessary.


2) Be sure to respond on time

Make sure you respond on time - CDP online response system is now open and companies need to complete and submit their response by the 28th July in order to be eligible for scoring and inclusion in reports.


3) Plan with sufficient time for senior sign off

Get started now, if you haven’t already, leaving lots of time for review and ensuring that you get the senior level sign off well before the deadline and taking into account any periods of time when final approvers may be ‘out of the office’.


How can we help?

At Rio ESG, our intelligent software can help you easily compile the quantitative data required for your response. Utilising our in-house CDP expertise, we can also review qualitative responses and cross-reference against the scoring methodology to optimise written responses.

Feel free to get in touch for a demo of the tools and an optimisation chat.