Carbon Disclosure Project

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The CDP (formerly the Carbon Disclosure Project) is an organisation based in the United Kingdom which supports companies and cities to disclose the environmental impact of major corporations. It aims to make environmental reporting and risk management a business norm, and drive disclosure, insight and action towards a sustainable economy.[1] Since 2002 over 6,000 companies have publicly disclosed environmental information through CDP.


CDP piggybacked on GRI’s concept of environmental disclosure in 2002, focusing on individual companies rather than on nations. At the time CDP had just 35 investors signing its request for climate information and 245 companies responding. Today, nearly a fifth of global greenhouse gas emissions are reported through CDP.[2]

CDP works with investors, companies, cities, states and regions towards a well below 2 degree, water secure world.

Some corporations have higher greenhouse gas emissions than individual nation states. Some leading companies have moved to become carbon neutral, but for others there is the scope to reduce energy usage and greenhouse gas-emissions through the adoption of energy-efficiency methods and business planning.


CDP works with over 6000 corporations, as well as over 550 cities and 100 states and regions to help them ensure that an effective carbon emissions reductions strategy is made integral to their operations. The collection of self-reported data from thousands of companies is supported by over 800 institutional investors with US$100 trillion in assets.[3] CDP operates from Berlin, New York, London and has partners in 18 of the world's major economies which help deliver the programme globally. It has:

  • Established the most comprehensive collection of self-reported environmental data in the world, accounting for over 20% of global anthropogenic emissions.
  • Started to establish a globally used standard for emissions and energy reporting
  • Examined the 250 major electric utilities globally (high GHG emitters)
  • Obtained backing from blue chip investors including HSBC, JPMorgan Chase, Bank of America, Merrill Lynch, Goldman Sachs, American International Group, and State Street Corp.
  • Active staff or partner organisations in the United States, China, Japan, Germany, United Kingdom, France, Canada, India, Brazil, Nordic region, South Africa, Netherlands, Australia, and New Zealand, among others
  • Works with corporations including WalMart, Tesco, Cadbury Schweppes, Procter and Gamble, and many others to measure emissions through the supply chain.

Much of the data elicited has never been collected before. This information is helpful to investors,[4] corporations, and regulators in making informed decisions on taking action towards a sustainable economy by measuring and understanding their environmental impact and taking meaningful steps to address and limit their risk to climate change, deforestation and water security.

CDP's Programs[edit]

CDP operates in most major economies worldwide and channels information and progress through individual programs. These are: Climate Change, Water, Supply Chain, Forests and Cities. Its Carbon Action initiative encourages investors to accelerate carbon reduction in high emitting industries and to implement emissions reducing projects that generate positive return on investment.

Climate Change[edit]

CDP's climate change program aims to reduce companies’ greenhouse gas emissions and mitigate climate change risk. CDP requests information on climate risks and low carbon opportunities from the world’s largest companies on behalf of over 800 institutional investor signatories with a combined US$100 trillion in assets.[5]


In 2014, 573 investors used the CDP Water program, collectively representing US$60 trillion in assets.[6] The program motivates companies to disclose and reduce their environmental impacts by using the power of investors and companies.

Supply Chain[edit]

In 2016, some 90 organizations, representing over US$2.5 trillion of purchasing power requested that their suppliers disclose information on how they are approaching climate and water risks and opportunities. Data was gathered from over 4,000 suppliers worldwide,[7] who reported over US$12 billion worth of savings from emission reduction activities[8].


CDP's forests program acts on behalf of over 290 signatory investors representing over US$20 trillion in assets. CDP collects information from companies through the lens of the four agricultural commodities responsible for most deforestation: timber, palm oil, cattle and soy. CDP’s forests program was first set up by the Global Canopy Programme Global Canopy Programme which remains a prime funder for the program.[9]


CDP Cities provides the global platform for cities to measure, manage and disclose their environmental data. More than 500 cities are now measuring and disclosing environmental data on an annual basis. The potential and need for this program is enormous since soon over half of the world’s population will live in cities.[10] CDP Cities provides an easy to use global platform based upon a simple questionnaire that allows city governments to publicly disclose their greenhouse gas emission data. One of the greatest values of the annual report, first released in June 2011, is to city leaders who can identify peers who are addressing similar risks and issues with new and innovative strategies for reducing carbon emissions and for mitigating risk from climate change.

Carbon Action Initiative[edit]

Carbon Action is an investor-led initiative which shows how companies in investment portfolios are managing carbon emissions and energy efficiency.

Over 300 investors with US$25 trillion in assets under management ask the world’s highest emitting companies to take three specific actions in response to climate change:

  • Make emissions reductions (year-on-year);
  • Publicly disclose emission reduction targets; and
  • ROI-positive investments in projects

In 2016, the Carbon Action request went to over 1300 of the highest emitters.[11]

CDP launched a new research series at the beginning of 2015, taking a sector by sector approach.[12]

Leadership Indices[edit]

CDP recognizes companies with high-quality disclosure in its annual scoring process, with top companies making it onto CDP's A-List.

Scores are calculated according to a standardized methodology which measures whether and how well, a company responds to each question. A company goes through four main steps, starting with disclosure of their current position, moving to awareness which looks at whether a company is conscious of it environmental impact, to management, and finally leadership[13].

A high CDP score is usually indicative of a company’s high environmental awareness, advanced sustainability governance and leadership to address climate change [14].

Relevance of CDP[edit]

Studies on the Carbon Disclosure Project[edit]

  • N. Misani and S. Pogutz. Unraveling the effects of environmental outcomes and processes on financial performance: A non-linear approach. "Ecological Economics", 109: 150-160, 2015.
  • F. Gasbarro, F. Rizzi and M. Frey. Adaptation Measures of Energy and Utility Companies to Cope with Water Scarcity Induced by Climate Change. "Business Strategy and the Environment". July 2014.
  • B. Doda, C. Gennaioli, A. Groundson and R. Sullivan. Are corporate carbon management practices reducing corporate carbon emissions?. "Corporate Social Responsibility and Environmental Management" January 2015
  • E.M. Matsumura, R. Prakash and S. Vera-Munoz. Firm-Value Effects of Carbon Emissions and Carbon Disclosures. "The Accounting Review" 89(2): 695-724, 2014
  • D.C. Matisoff, D.S. Noonan and J.J. O'Brien. Convergence in environmental reporting: Assessing the carbon disclosure project. "Business Strategy and the Environment" 22(5): 285-305, 2013
  • C. Saka and T. Oshika. Disclosure effects, carbon emissions and corporate value. "Sustainability Accounting, Management and Policy Journal". 5(1):22-45, 2014
  • E-H. Kim and T. Lyon. When Does Institutional Investor Activism Increase Shareholder Value?: The Carbon Disclosure Project. "The B.E. Journal of Economic Analysis and Policy". 11(1), 2014
  • A. Harmes. The limits of carbon disclosure: Theorizing the business case for investor environmentalism. Global Environmental Politics, 11(2):98–119, 2011.
  • A. Kolk, D. Levy, and J. Pinkse. Corporate Responses in an Emerging Climate Regime: The Institutionalization and Commensuration of Carbon Disclosure. European Accounting Review, 17(4):719–745, Dec. 2008.
  • B.W. Lewis, J.L. Walls, and G.W.S. Dowell. Difference in Degrees: CEO Characteristics and Firm Environmental Disclosure. Strategic Management Journal, 35(5): 712-722, May, 2014.
  • C.F. Jira and M.W. Toffel. Engaging Supply Chains in Climate Change. Manufacturing & Service Operations Management, 2013.
  • E.M. Reid and M.W. Toffel. Responding to Public and Private Politics: Corporate Disclosure of Climate Change Strategies. Strategic Management Journal, 30(11): 1157–1178, Nov. 2009.

Corporate Recognition of the CDP[edit]

The CDP represents 822 institutional investors, holding US$95 trillion in assets.[15] In 2010, CDP was called "The most powerful green NGO you've never heard of" by the Harvard Business Review.[16] In 2012 it won the Zayed Future Energy Prize.[17]

Corporate Participants[edit]

See also[edit]


  1. ^ "Environmental disclosure: from transparency to transformation". CDP (in Arabic). Retrieved 2017-11-05.
  2. ^ "GHG Emissions Dataset". CDP. Retrieved 2017-11-05.
  3. ^
  4. ^
  5. ^ "Archived copy". Archived from the original on 2015-05-26. Retrieved 2015-05-26.
  6. ^
  7. ^
  8. ^ BSR. "Forging the Missing Link: What the 2017 CDP Supply Chain Report Says About Supplier Engagement". Retrieved 2017-11-05.
  9. ^ "Archived copy". Archived from the original on 2015-04-03. Retrieved 2015-05-26.
  10. ^ Cohen, Joel, E (2003). "The Human Population: the next half century". Science. 302 (5648): 1172–1175. doi:10.1126/science.1088665. PMID 14615528.
  11. ^ "Archived copy". Archived from the original on 2015-05-26. Retrieved 2015-05-26.
  12. ^
  13. ^ "Guidance for companies". CDP. Retrieved 2017-11-05.
  14. ^ "How Does Positive CDP Performance Drive Positive Financial Performance". Retrieved 2017-11-27.
  15. ^
  16. ^ Andrew Winston (October 5, 2010). "The Most Powerful Green NGO You've Never Heard Of". Retrieved Oct 26, 2012.
  17. ^ ZaYed Future Energy Prize, 2012 Winners "Archived copy". Archived from the original on 2012-06-15. Retrieved 2012-08-27.

External links[edit]