For many years, Pennon has recognised the need to manage its greenhouse gas emissions and adapt to the consequences of climate change. As the parent company of Viridor and South West Water, reporting to the Carbon Disclosure Project (CDP) on an annual basis has always been an important element in communicating our sustainability efforts to shareholders, clients and the public. It helps us to identify how we can cope with the threats from climate change and better understand the available business opportunities.
After a number of years in which our CDP results plateaued, our decision to seek expert third-party advice came after our score slipped in 2012 and moved us down the overall rankings to 96th place out of 240 respondents from the FTSE 350.
Pennon did not feel that this reflected our progressive carbon management programmes. We therefore sought advice in order to clarify how best to significantly improve our score during the 2013 CDP disclosure cycle. Carbon Credentials was chosen to conduct a final review and evaluation of our 2013 response prior to submission through its Response Check service.
Carbon Credentials was appointed because of its track record for delivering results that meet customers’ needs and accredited consultancy status with CDP. CDP consultancy partners demonstrate a commitment to encouraging high quality disclosure of climate change related data from global businesses and are required to meet certain criteria in order to achieve accreditation – including positive references from responding companies.
Once our final draft was complete, Carbon Credentials conducted a thorough evaluation of the quality, relevance and completeness of the Pennon Group response. Their final report provided a series of detailed recommendations and next steps for improvement that were clearly signposted according to the structure of the questionnaire. In addition, each recommendation was allocated a level of priority according to the number of available points in order to guarantee our full understanding.
Carbon Credentials clearly articulated the process and timescales from the outset, and a final telephone feedback session gave us the opportunity to pose final questions to its experts. This gave us everything we needed to be able to submit in confidence.
The independent perspective and understanding of the reporting process and scoring methodology helped us to improve our response. An approachable team and their professional service ensured good communications and a succinct, practical and valuable report that met strict deadlines. The CDP is an important component of our sustainability programme, and we were pleased at the quality of Carbon Credentials’ output.
Carbon Credentials’ Response Check service contributed to our much-improved 2013 disclosure score and successful inclusion within the CDP Climate Disclosure Leadership Index (CDLI) for the very first time.
This important index identifies companies within the FTSE 350 that have displayed the strongest approaches to corporate governance in respect to climate change disclosure practices. It is an essential evaluation tool for institutional investors and other stakeholders, including 722 CDP investor signatories representing $87 trillion in assets.
Over the last few years, we have worked hard to embed the systems and procedures within our business to help us manage our impacts. Recognition of our great strides in measuring, reporting and reducing emissions will bolster our efforts going forward and drive further action on climate change within our business.
We are proud to have been included within the CDLI and the effective work of Carbon Credentials supported our inclusion. Receiving targeted and quality feedback really helped to establish our position as publicised leaders in climate change disclosure.