Increasingly, companies with sustainability mandates use third-party organizations to validate their goals and set standards for carbon disclosure.
According to the annual report of the RE100, a group of large businesses committed to 100 per cent renewable power, its members "represent over 159 TWh of demand for renewable electricity – more than enough to power Malaysia, New York State or Poland, and equivalent to the 24th largest electricity demand of all countries."
What is driving this move to third-party validation?
According to John Coyne, Unilever Canada Inc.'s vice-president of legal and external affairs, "Credible third-party validation can contribute to improved transparency, which is a necessary feature in building trust in businesses. Also, third-party validations help standardize reporting across businesses, allowing the public to assess performance of businesses across sectors and amongst competitors."
CDP (formerly Carbon Disclosure Project) is an international non-profit organization operating the world's largest database of environmental disclosure used by nearly 6,400 companies with some 55 per cent of global market capitalization, along with over 500 cities, 100 states and regions that disclosed data through CDP in 2017. "Companies that choose to disclose their emissions using CDP's guidelines need to have reputable choices when it comes to reducing the impact of the energy they consume," says Paul Robins, head of partnerships at CDP.
Those reputable choices include guidance on goal setting and environmental solutions providers. "CDP and Science Based Targets (SBTs) have aligned industries around common ways to manage, measure and disclose their energy and emission impacts," explains Kim Marotta, global senior director, corporate responsibility, Molson Coors. "The SBTs help companies like ours determine how much we must cut emissions so that our 2025 Our Beer Print goals are in line with the level of ambition required by science to meet the two degree scenario."
Ron Seftel, CEO of Bullfrog Power, emphasizes that "as CDP's only accredited Canada-focused green energy provider, it's important for us to be aligned with the growing consensus on how the world can meet the Paris Agreement commitments."
"Canadians are looking for more than just commitments when it comes to an organization's sustainability goals," says Marcelo Lu, president of BASF Canada. "Since 2004, BASF has participated in CDP's program for reporting on climate protection data and, globally at BASF, we have set ourselves ambitious, quantitative goals to reduce specific greenhouse gas emissions per metric tonne of sales product by 40 per cent by 2020. In Canada, our facilities are now bullfrog-powered with green energy, reducing our CO2 emissions footprint by 1,520 tonnes annually."
Watch in 2018 to see if this trend of third-party validation reaches the mainstream of corporate social responsibility.
Produced by Randall Anthony Communications. The Globe's editorial department was not involved in its creation.