CDP’s 2013 S&P 500 Climate Change Report was released this week, and Altura congratulates Broadcom Corporation for achieving an exemplary 92 disclosure score. Over the past five years, Broadcom has worked very hard to improve its climate change strategies and actions. As a result, Broadcom spring boarded from a 48 disclosure score in 2009 (first year to participate) to a 92 in 2013. The CDP disclosure score measures a company’s ability to communicate its climate change strategies, risk and opportunity assessment processes, disclosure of greenhouse gas emissions, and other climate change-related practices and disclosures.
Equally impressive, Broadcom’s 2013 performance score jumped from a “D” to a “B.” This score improvement is based on a number of factors including the company’s ability to take executive ownership of climate change strategies, show positive greenhouse gas reductions, and to verify the accuracy of global greenhouse gas emission inventories.
To me, success stories like the one Broadcom experienced this week continue to fortify the importance of voluntary social, environmental, and financial disclosures as a means to create fruitful connections between employees, customers and industry peers. I have witnessed firsthand the power of these connections and the way in which they are transforming businesses. CDP is much more than the world’s largest repository of corporate climate change information – it offers tools that effectively elevate climate change topics to executive agendas, opening up new communications pathways, and governance strategies that enable companies to drastically reduce their environmental footprints. It is not easy to quantify, manage, and reduce corporate greenhouse gas emissions. But as markets begin to adopt “integrated reporting” to merge the disclosure of environmental and financial performance, public companies, who are traditionally well-versed in financial reporting, are quickly becoming skilled at preparing transparent environmental disclosures. In my opinion, the writing is on the wall that environmental disclosure is rapidly becoming standard practice among public companies – especially considering that 80% of Fortune 500 companies are now reporting climate change information to CDP. More importantly, companies are becoming empowered to take action and make positive change in their organizations and communities.
Connecting people within an organization drives transformation. I have experienced this phenomenon within so many different organizations and the powerful results that emerge from sharing ideas and data are remarkable. The value of the stakeholder engagement process is becoming more and more central to environmental reporting as demonstrated by the reputable frameworks created by CDP, the Global Reporting Initiative (GRI), the Sustainability Accounting Standards Board (SASB) and other organizations dedicated to improving the quality and accessibility of corporate environmental information. By including internal and external stakeholders early in the reporting process, people converge around material issues that become the foundation for environmental reports. During this time, valuable data is shared, gaps are identified, and champions are assigned to take action.
This stakeholder engagement process and communication of critical information and data makes me think of the adage, “you can’t manage what you don’t measure.” Trends in environmental reporting are requiring companies to gather, organize, and analyze data that might not otherwise be captured. We’ve found that once the data is gathered and organized, it becomes a powerful tool to identify, justify, and undertake projects to improve energy efficiency performance.
Organizations like CDP provide benchmarks that companies use to evaluate performance against their peers. Carbon intensity metrics such as metric tons of CO2 equivalent per employee, per square foot, or per unit revenue enable companies to compare their own performance relative to the rest of the industry. Sometimes a simple reality check to see how you’re doing compared to others can unlock new ways of thinking and inspire change.
For those just getting started …
For companies just beginning the environmental reporting process, or those hesitant to begin the process, my advice would be to:
— Work with an expert who understands how to facilitate the collection, evaluation, and management of critical data sources and how to communicate this information using standard disclosure techniques
— Know that once a system is established for gathering and managing data, the process becomes much easier in the long-run
— Consider the social, environmental, and financial advantages that result from sustainability reporting
— Become proactive with reducing natural resource consumption, greenhouse gas emissions, and operating expenses – it is never too late to take action
Please feel free to reach out to me with any questions or comments.
877-572-6590, extension 103
Ryan Gaylord is a Principal and co-founder of Altura and he leads the firm’s Corporate Sustainability consulting practice. He works with clients to develop and execute strategic plans for corporate sustainability, and has guided companies through the CDP reporting process.