In honor of Environmental Education Week, we’ve outlined the four growth stages of a successful CDP reporting season: Seed, Sprout, Sapling and Tree. Not sure where your roots lie? Read on to determine which stage applies to you.
It’s that time of year again – temperatures are rising, days are getting longer, seeds are taking root and plants are in full bloom. While this season is typically known as a time of fresh beginnings and continued growth, it can also signal approaching deadlines and the added stress that comes with preparing your annual corporate disclosures.
At Antea Group, we recognize that the “season” of CDP preparation has a variety of meanings depending on your organization. Perhaps you find yourself completely overwhelmed and are wondering where to begin… perhaps you’re well prepared and excited to demonstrate progress. Regardless of your situation, we remain committed to helping you see the forest for the trees and ensuring that your disclosure is as accurate, complete, and impactful as possible.
It is no secret that each organization begins their CDP reporting journey at different maturity levels. In honor of Earth Day, we’ve outlined the four growth stages of a successful CDP reporting season: Seed, Sprout, Sapling and Tree. Not sure where your roots lie? Read on to determine which stage applies to you and review our expert advice specifically tailored for ensuring continued growth.
You’ve made the decision to share your company’s sustainability story using the CDP framework, or perhaps you’ve been asked to respond to a customer or investor request. Where do you begin?
At this stage, acclimating yourself to the CDP reporting process is the priority. For new reporters, we typically recommend conducting a thorough review of the CDP framework: What are the core steps of the reporting process? What are your options for responding? How will your information be used? CDP offers a variety of workshops, guidance, and case studies to establish your bearings and understand the “why” behind transparent disclosure. Still feeling overwhelmed? Our Corporate Reporting and Disclosure practitioners are prepared and excited to guide you throughout every step of the process.
Once you’re familiar with the framework, it’s time begin preparing your disclosure. Focus on keeping it simple: organize and align your readily-available information, review remaining gaps, and prioritize what is required over the “nice to have” elements of disclosure. As this stage, completeness is key – leaving questions unanswered or referencing previous responses will have the most stringent impact on disclosure performance and can impede your growth across CDP scoring levels.
Once the seed is planted, it’s ready to grow! Organizations within the “Sprout” phase have likely responded to CDP before, but are still new to the process and deciphering how to update and improve their responses. Focus on expanding your strategy and responses to include more comprehensive details. For example, rather than simply identifying which environmental risks your organization faces, you can evaluate and address the impacts, business implications, and strategies to mitigate them. Building from your existing foundation and beginning to develop and supplement the thoroughness of your disclosure is a key component of this phase.
You want to expand upon your previous disclosure, but how can you achieve this? At this stage, there are a variety of methods to deepen your understanding of thorough responses and develop your narrative accordingly. Review your disclosures from previous years and align them with current questionnaires to identify critical gaps and inform which information you need to collect. Review your current methods for collecting data in alignment with your disclosure needs – perhaps it is time to pursue more efficient data management processes. Completing a Peer Benchmarking analysis is a great way to calibrate your performance with industry leaders and assess your reporting challenges / opportunities compared to your peers.
You’re no stranger to the forest! At this stage, CDP has become an annual process and a core component of your organization’s corporate reporting strategy. Stakeholders such as customers and investors have likely taken note of your participation and are monitoring your organization’s performance and progress. Although you’re comfortable with the disclosure process and have solid reporting strategies in place, you may not be confident in how you’ll be reviewed. How can you gain more credibility and optimize your scoring potential?
The focus of this disclosure phase is action. You’ve identified and assessed your risks and opportunities, now it’s time to discuss how to address them. Supplementing your narrative with specific evidence and case studies is a surefire way to demonstrate strong environmental management and convey that you are acting on your commitments. If you’re finding yourself feeling cross-eyed from staring at the same questionnaire for months on end, it can be easy to overlook the minute details that can impact your performance. For this reason, we always recommend a fresh set of eyes – have an internal team member review for clarity and consistent messaging compared to other external disclosures. For some additional peace of mind, leverage Antea Group’s expert review and preliminary scoring estimate to identify remaining gaps and final suggestions for optimizing your response.
You’re a lean, green, CDP-reporting machine. After responding to CDP for years, you have an effective reporting strategy in place and are no longer daunted by the tasks that it entails. It’s smooth sailing from here… or is it? Perhaps your progress has plateaued, or stakeholders are taking note of your messaging that has remained consistent for years. What can you do to drive change?
At this stage, your focus is leadership – what management strategies or actions are you taking to advance environmental stewardship? Review which of your peers have reached CDP’s coveted A-List and calibrate the opportunities that are most feasible for your organization in the long-term. Perhaps it’s time to establish a science-based target or explore new ways to engage your supply chain. Continued progress within your disclosure is contingent on the continued development of your sustainability strategy… but Antea Group can still help! From energy and emissions to water and waste, our team of Sustainability experts will work closely with your organization to review current goals and provide recommendations to further develop your strategy and emerge as a leader.
We recognize the unique challenges and opportunities that come with each stage of the CDP reporting process and are experienced at crafting expert solutions specifically tailored to your reporting needs. From Seed to Tree, we can still see the forest… it’s just a matter of helping you grow.
Contact us today for more information on how Antea Group can support your CDP reporting efforts (no matter where your roots lie)!
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