VIDEO: CDP scores & China's sustainability reporting guidelines

Updated: 
February 15, 2024
Article

The Week in Sustainability – February 12–16

Great Wall of China

Across the sustainability landscape, transparency is not just a buzzword but a crucial pillar for businesses worldwide. As we delve into the latest developments in sustainability reporting, two significant narratives emerge – the unveiling of CDP's 2023 reporting scores and China's groundbreaking guidelines for sustainability disclosure.

Unveiling CDP's 2023 reporting scores

First, let's dissect the powerhouse CDP, formerly the Carbon Disclosure Project. Founded in 2000, the organization serves as a global beacon for environmental transparency, spanning 50 countries. With over 23,000 companies participating in the 2023 reporting cycle alone, the relevance of CDP in today’s corporate landscape cannot be overstated.

But why do companies willingly subject themselves to CDP's scrutiny? Stakeholder pressure plays a pivotal role, with investors and supply chain giants demanding data on environmental performance. As regulatory frameworks tighten globally, disclosure emerges as a crucial pillar for achieving net-zero targets and aligning with the Paris Agreement.

CDP's survey-based approach sets it apart, offering a nuanced evaluation of companies' environmental stewardship across climate, water, and forest domains. The coveted 'A-list' status, attained by a mere 2% of respondents, signifies global leadership in environmental transparency. However, amidst a surge in reporting, the quality of disclosed data becomes a focal point, highlighting the imperative for comprehensive and high-quality submissions.

The evolution of reporting requirements mirrors the shifting sands of global sustainability agendas. As CDP consolidates its questionnaires for the 2024 cycle, the emphasis on transparency and accountability intensifies. Companies must brace themselves for escalating demands, with verification requirements poised to evolve alongside regulatory shifts.

China's new guidelines for sustainability disclosure

As we shift from voluntary requirements to mandated, China's unveiling of new sustainability guidelines marks a pivotal moment in the country's journey toward economic resilience and environmental stewardship. Anchored on the pillars of the Task Force on Climate-Related Financial Disclosure (TCFD), these guidelines mandate disclosure across governance, strategy, risk management, and metrics.

Mainland China’s stock exchanges spearhead this initiative, underscoring a concerted push towards sustainable development. With compulsory reporting slated for 2026, listed companies face a clarion call to integrate sustainability into their core operations.

This paradigm shift in reporting extends beyond China's borders, resonating with broader trends across the Asia-Pacific region. From Australia's proposed climate risk reporting mandates to Japan's TCFD-aligned disclosure requirements, regulatory frameworks are evolving to meet the imperatives of a rapidly changing climate landscape.

Singapore's phased approach to sustainability reporting underscores the diverse strategies employed by nations to foster corporate accountability. With mandatory reporting cascading across sectors, businesses must proactively navigate this new terrain, armed with a thorough understanding of their environmental footprint.

As the global sustainability agenda gathers momentum, one thing is abundantly clear – the era of greenwashing is over. Companies must embrace transparency, not as a regulatory burden but as a catalyst for positive change. By aligning their operations with the imperatives of sustainability, businesses can chart a course towards a greener, more resilient future.

The convergence of CDP's reporting scores and China's sustainability guidelines offers a glimpse into the evolving landscape of corporate accountability. As governments, regulators, and businesses collaborate to shape a sustainable future, the liabilities lies on companies to lead by example, driving meaningful action towards a world where sustainability isn't just an aspiration but a fundamental ethos.

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Sources

1. CDP, “CDP Scores.” https://www.cdp.net/en/scores

2. South China Morning Post, “Mainland China’s stock exchanges issue first guidelines on corporate sustainability disclosure.” https://www.scmp.com/business/china-business/article/3251570/mainland-chinas-stock-exchanges-issue-first-guidelines-corporate-sustainability-disclosure Accessed February 10, 2024  

3. EY, “What’s next for Japanese sustainability disclosure standards.” https://www.ey.com/en_jp/sustainability/whats-next-for-japanese-sustainability-disclosure-standards Accessed October 13, 2023

4. EY, “How Singapore-listed companies can drive progress in climate reporting.” https://www.ey.com/en_sg/assurance/how-singapore-listed-companies-can-drive-progress-in-climate-reporting Accessed July 13, 2023

5. KPMG, “Evolution of sustainability reporting in Asia Pacific.” https://assets.kpmg.com/content/dam/kpmg/xx/pdf/2023/12/evolution-of-sustainability-reporting-in-asia-pacific.pdf.”  

6. Sustain.Life, “What is the CDP?.” https://www.sustain.life/blog/what-is-cdp Accessed June 26, 2023  

Editorial statement
At Sustain.Life, our goal is to provide the most up-to-date, objective, and research-based information to help readers make informed decisions. Written by practitioners and experts, articles are grounded in research and experience-based practices. All information has been fact-checked and reviewed by our team of sustainability professionals to ensure content is accurate and aligns with current industry standards. Articles contain trusted third-party sources that are either directly linked to the text or listed at the bottom to take readers directly to the source.
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Alyssa Rade
Alyssa Rade is the chief sustainability officer at Sustain.Life. She has over ten years of corporate sustainability experience and guides Sustain.Life’s platform features.
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Sustain.Life Team
Sustain.Life’s teams of sustainability practitioners and experts often collaborate on articles, videos, and other content.
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