The European Investment Bank (EIB), Storebrand and Aviva among 746 financial institutions requesting disclosure from companies as part of CDP's annual environmental impact questionnaire
746 leading financial institutions holding over US$136 trillion in assets are calling on more than 15,000 companies across the globe to disclose data on their environmental impact.
The request is in the form of a Letter to the Boards of these companies, highlighting the urgent need for the business community to engage on environmental reporting.
In addition to data on climate change, deforestation, water security and biodiversity, the letter is also requesting disclosure on plastic through CDP's 2023 questionnaire.
CDP, the global non-profit which runs the world's environmental disclosure system, is coordinating this annual disclosure request on behalf of financial institutions across 40 countries – ranging from asset managers and asset owners to banks and insurance companies, including the European Investment Bank (EIB), Aviva, New York State Common Retirement Fund and Storebrand.
The demand for corporate environmental transparency is greater than ever. This year's letter sees a nearly 10% increase in the number of financial institutions requesting disclosure through CDP, emphasizing the value of corporate environmental disclosure in enhancing assessment of investment and lending portfolios, and forecasting.
The increase in engagement reflects a recognition that climate change and irreversible loss of nature and habitats poses indisputable challenges to businesses and investment activities.
Paul Dickinson, Founder Chair of CDP, commented: "Despite suggestions that investors are deprioritizing ESG considerations, this year's Letter to the Board shows the complete opposite. Capital markets understand the necessity for comprehensive corporate environmental data in informing investment and lending decisions across markets. This, coupled with a record 18,700 disclosures last year – a 38% increase, demonstrates corporate ambition on meeting the mid-century goals of the Paris Agreement."
"What is more, regulation is coming. Disclosure is already mandatory or soon to become so in most major economies including the UK, EU, Brazil, Japan, and the US. Companies still lagging behind are simply out of touch with market reality and are overestimating their own resilience. They must act now to get ahead of governments and market regulations, and to future-proof their operations."
Despite the growth in disclosure and incoming regulation, too many high-impact companies still do not disclose their environmental data and are facing renewed calls to act on the request – they include Berkshire Hathaway, Exxon Mobil, Saudi Aramco and Tesla.
This year, CDP will support companies to disclose on plastics for the first time, a significant step in its plan to scale disclosure on more environmental topics. In 2023, companies will also be able to disclose their activities under the EU Taxonomy, through a set of pilot questions. This follows the announcement made at COP27 that CDP will incorporate the ISSB climate disclosure standard into its global disclosure system from 2024, ensuring rapid accelerated early adoption of the standard across the global economy.
Dickinson further noted: "While the boost in capital market support and year-on-year increase in disclosure is hugely encouraging, the focus mostly remains narrowly on climate. I urge all companies and financial institutions to actively engage with this year's disclosure on climate change, forests, water and plastics. Addressing the climate crisis and forging an unwavering path toward 1.5C requires purposeful data-backed action on nature and environmental degradation."