Business Value of Climate Action Plans, Science-Based Targets and CDP Reporting

Businesses have an opportunity to play a critical role in cutting greenhouse gas emissions to curb global temperature rise and mitigate impacts of climate change. Effective action against climate change starts with an integrated and inclusive plan, also known as a climate action plan. Climate action plans address how to achieve reductions in greenhouse gas emissions and how to implement climate change adaptation strategies in ways that connect to wider social, environmental, and economic benefits (1).

Corporate climate action plans, along with setting science-based targets and/or reporting to CDP, equip businesses with a strategy, including specific measures, to strengthen their resilience to climate impacts and contribute to the global effort towards limiting greenhouse gas emissions.

Reporting on baseline emissions, setting targets, and tracking subsequent progress towards those targets enables companies to identify and understand their risks and opportunities, increase their transparency to stakeholders, and strengthen their ability to make evidence-based, informed decisions. 

Get Started with Target-Setting and Reporting

Since the ratification of the Paris Agreement in 2016 which commits signatory parties to, “substantially reduce global greenhouse gas emissions to limit the global temperature increase in this century to 2 degrees Celsius while pursuing efforts to limit the increase even further to 1.5 degrees [above pre-industrial temperature levels]”(2), nations have reported their climate action plans (also known as Nationally Determined Contributions, or NDCs) to the United Nations. While nations are expected to submit NDCs as part of the Paris Agreement, other institutions, including businesses, have voluntarily opted to report their own climate action plans.

All reporting entities, from nations to businesses and everything in between, can use climate action plans to publicly demonstrate how they will deliver on their commitment to address climate change.  

Corporate climate action plans are directly related to the upswell of businesses setting science-based targets as part of the Science-Based Targets Initiative (SBTi)(3). SBTi is a partnership between CDP, World Resources Institute (WRI), the Worldwide Fund for Nature (WWF), and the United Nations Global Compact (UN Global Compact) that uses the latest climate science for businesses to set greenhouse gas emissions reduction targets in line with the Paris Agreement.  

Corporate climate action plans can also be aligned with CDP’s climate questionnaires. CDP offers a framework for companies to “provide environmental information to their stakeholders covering governance and policy, risks and opportunity management, environmental targets and strategy, and scenario analysis(4). CDP’s climate questionnaires are fully aligned with the Task Force on Climate-Related Financial Disclosures (TCFD) recommendations, enabling companies to report high quality, comparable climate-related financial information and impacts.

Many large companies (i.e., Microsoft, General Motors, Estee Lauder) have begun requesting their suppliers to report to CDP in an effort to manage their own scope 3 emissions and identify supply chain risks and opportunities. CDP reporting provides tangible business benefits and added value through building trust with stakeholders, preparing proactively, and future-proofing business operations and growth. 

Setting greenhouse gas emissions reduction targets aligned with the Paris Agreement and submitting a CDP climate questionnaire are two best practices for corporate action on climate change. Businesses can leverage these best practices to understand how much and how quickly they should be reducing their greenhouse gas emissions. Additionally, businesses can use climate action plans as a communication tool to report on commitments and disclose progress towards targets, all the while maintaining open, transparent communication with stakeholders. 

How 3R Can Help

Now is the perfect time for businesses to get started on their climate-related reporting; as of the second week in January 2022, CDP questionnaire guidance has been made available for reference. By July 27, 2022, all CDP responses must be submitted to be eligible for scoring and inclusion in reports. As a CDP Accredited Solutions Provider, 3R can offer companies expertise and support for CDP reporting. With our access to CDP insights on the 13,000+ companies that respond to questionnaires, we are well-positioned to help companies improve their disclosure and accelerate sustainable business practices.

Additionally, our team of experts can work with companies to establish science-based targets for climate action and help to integrate those targets into reporting and overarching business strategies. We see climate action as being material to all companies, and as such, we are committed to helping businesses do their part in the global effort of creating an equitable and sustainable future.  Fill out the 3R Contact Us Form to speak with one of our experts today!

 

Article by Rachel Bukowitz
3R Sustainability Consultant
linkedin.com/in/rachelbukowitz

Sources:

  1. C40 Climate Action Planning Resource Centre 
  2. The Paris Agreement | United Nations 
  3. Since its establishment in 2015, the Science Based Targets initiative (SBTi) has worked with over 2,000 businesses and financial institutions to reduce their emissions in line with climate science. 
  4. FAQs for companies – CDP