Tuesday, October 16, 2012

2012 CDP Canada 200 Report launched today

At concurrent events in Toronto and Montreal today the Carbon Disclosure Project (CDP) launched the CDP Canada 200 Climate Change Report 2012.

A capacity crowd of dark suits enjoyed coffee and snacks provided by Tim Hortons, as Scott Bonikowsky, Vice President, Corporate, Public and Government affairs, Tim Hortons Inc., was the keynote speaker.

The Toronto event began with an introduction by Stephen Donofrio of the CPD, who provided a brief overview of the work of the CPD, that is, to use the power of measurement and information disclosure to improve the management of environmental risk. Having worked on climate change through carbon disclosure for over a decade, the CDP is now addressing water use and beginning next year will be integrating the work of the Forest Footprint Disclosure Project, creating a comprehensive system for reporting on natural capital.

Mr. Bonikowsky then gave us some perspectives on Tim Horton’s sustainability journey, frankly admitting at the start, “We have made considerable strides and progress but we have considerable challenges ahead of us.” Tim’s created a sustainability strategy in 2009, from a starting point of adding value to the business, while recognizing that the company had to mitigate its significant negative environmental impacts. Some of this was driven by the recognition of the ‘relentless push towards increased transparency’ and the surprising number of requests for information on what Tim’s was doing with respect to sustainability and environmental initiatives. When the company released its first GRI report in 2010, it was downloaded 82,000 times, both a testament to the desire for information, and a spur to continue providing it.

He described some of Tim’s' challenges, including trying to reduce the absolute/aggregate impacts of a fast growing company, dealing with franchise owners as partners who have to be relied upon to execute many of the measures, and, in a comment echoed by many, the lack of standardization in sustainability reporting, leading to questionnaire fatigue and the ironic result that companies find themselves spending more time reporting and less time engaging in actual activities that reduce their footprint.

Brief remarks from Ernst Ligteringen, CEO, Global Reporting Initiative, commended the participation of the TMX at the launch, both in Toronto and Montreal. He stated that we need policy initiatives to encourage companies to make sustainability reporting part of the normal flow of information they release. The Shanghai Stock Exchange has been particularly active on this front, resulting in an increase in sustainability reporting initiatives among Chinese companies.

This was followed by highlights of the report (I’ll blog about this fully in the next post), and a brief Q and A and wrap up.

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