What did we learn? That question goes to the heart of what the Carbon Disclosure Project (CDP) is. It’s a grand exercise for companies (and cities) to learn about themselves, and for others to learn about them.
If you’re doing corporate research for an investment firm and need to know the full Environmental, Social and Governance (ESG) lowdown on a business, a lot of it is in the CDP submission.
We learnt, firstly, that our environmental reporting, performance management and target setting is in need of some work. We also learnt that our lack of strategies and forward plans on the environment mean we come in at the lower tier in the CDP’s scores for Climate Change: we’re a D for disclosure – we’re transparent about climate issues. The top tier is A Leadership, implementing current best practices.
Companies that scored A for Climate Change in the 2021 list include CEMEX, one of the largest cement companies in the world; Coca-Cola (you’ve probably heard of them); BT Group; J Sainsbury; and Volvo. Arm received a B score.
“ "The Carbon Disclosure Project says its aim is to incentivise and guide organisations on a journey of environmental transparency and action." ”
To put this in context, CEMEX’s total energy consumption from non-renewable sources was 50,263,043 MWh in the reporting period. Stranger’s was 3.42 MWh (roughly the electricity use of a semi-detached house in the UK in a year). CEMEX score highly with the CDP because of everything they are doing to try to reduce the huge emissions and environmental impact cement has on the world. Cement production, even at CEMEX, still has a colossal impact, producing emissions from the energy used for production and as a by-product of production.
To be on a par, on transparency and action – if not carbon emissions – we need to dedicate more time to understanding what our impact is and what we’re doing about it.
Reading impact reports, writing environmental disclosures, it can feel a bit like the band on the Titanic; it’s helping ease the pain but it’s not really changing anything.
So, what we’re not going to do is set up an environmental audit committee or create reams of paperwork documenting our impact.
What we are going to do is gather and estimate information on the areas where we don’t know enough: the impact our suppliers have; what carbon emissions our events create; the climate impact of our waste; the risks and opportunities from climate change; then form clear actions to reduce the impact.
Before our 2022 CDP submission, we’ll also revisit what we’re doing already to power Stranger Collective by renewables, where we can control the energy input; we’ll be clear about what we’ve achieved, and see what more we can do. For example, we’ll look at reducing our energy needs, not just sourcing power from providers offering renewable energy plans.
The Carbon Disclosure Project says its aim is to incentivise and guide organisations on a journey of environmental transparency and action. We’re already on that journey. What matters now is where it leads.
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