Wednesday, July 6, 2011

GRI + CDP = headache

Being an Organizational Stakeholder (OS) of the GRI, along with all the other OS, I get advance updates of new things such as ... publications.

This time it's a GRI publication which explains the link between the GRI FRamework and the CDP which answers the question: How do the Global Reporting Initiative Reporting Guidelines match with the Carbon Disclosure Project questions?

The purpose is to provide a tool which will make the reporting process more efficient for reporters.

This is of course an important connection. The CDP is fast becoming the global standard for carbon reporting, just as the GRI has become the global standard for sustainability reporting. Over 3,000 organizations in some 60 countries around the world now measure and disclose their greenhouse gas emissions and climate change strategies through CDP. Understanding the way these two frameworks link together has probably not been a key element in sustainability report planning to date, but as most leading companies are now doing both, it is perhaps an interesting idea to try to address the CDP requirements through the sustainability report (just as many sustainabilty reports include the UN Global Compact Index). This is another building block in the complex attempt to achieve harmonization, which is a key consideration in the new G4 guidelines development.

The new Bayer Sustainable Development Report for 2010  (just profiled on has a reference to Bayer's CDP submission which is hyperlinked from page 27 of the report.

I tried to make a quick comparison between the CDP submission and the Sustainability Report using the new GRI linkage table in the document. I went to a simple comparision. GRI EN4 should be CDP 12.2.

In the Bayer Sustainability Report (page 56, table 16) direct greenhouse gas emissions is stated as 4.57 million metric tons of CO2e. 
In the CDP submission, total gross Scope 1 emissions is stated by country, so I added it all up and it comes to 4.57 million metric tons (which is actually the answer to CDP 12.1.) but compares with the direct emissions stated in EN4. So that makes sense.

However, CDP also appears as a correlation with EN3, which compares with CDP 12.2 and 12.3. But when I tried to find CDP 12.3 in the Bayer CDP submission, it was not there :). It looks like it had been cut off in the conversion of the form to PDF format. Funny.

Anyway, there seems to be some connection! However, this linkage document only works one way - if you first look for the GRI indicator and want to know what is the corresponding CDP question. Actually, I would have thought that it would be  useful to have this both ways, as more companies report to CDP than they do to GRI and  CDP disclosures may be a preparatory step ahead of full sustainability disclosure. Reporters may wonder what they need to include in their Sustainability Report to make it also CDP compatible (even if they still have to fill out the CDP form separately).

Therefore, if you want to check this out as you prepare for your own GRICDP Report, here is my distillation of the GRI Linkage Report.

EN16, by the way, in the GRI Framework is: Total direct and indirect greenhouse gas emissions by weight. Here you can see the level of detail in the CDP disclosures versus the GRI indicator and an indication of the complexities of harmonization. The comments provided in the Linkage  document attempt to shed some light on the detailed differences.

However, until the G4 becomes reality, assuming it does manage to integrate different reporting frameworks successfully, harmonization is still a big stretch.

elaine cohen, CSR consultant, Sustainabilty Reporter, HR Professional, Ice Cream Addict. Author of CSR for HR: A necessary partnership for advancing responsible business practices   Contact me via  on Twitter or via my business website  (BeyondBusiness, an inspired CSR consulting and Sustainability Reporting firm)

1 comment:

Christina Schwerdtfeger said...

This is really helpful. I'm looking forward to seeing the updated official version from GRI and CDP once G4 is issued in mid-2013.

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