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CDP - Get the timing right

When is the best time to start completing a CDP response? When should I start collecting data? What should I do when I receive a score?

If this is your first time responding to CDP, you may be asking yourselves some or all of these questions; but even if you are a seasoned respondent, the tips below will help make CDP a smoother process.

January – February: make sure you are up-to-speed

Every year, CDP introduces a number of changes to the questionnaire and process. The beginning of the year is when all the changes are announced and explained. Make sure you understand what’s new to avoid unpleasant surprises when you receive your score later in the year.

Doing your research is especially important this year as the Climate Change program will see major changes, including the way responding companies are scored. So start early, and make sure you understand what the changes mean for you and how your score may be affected.

March – May: prepare your response

Now it’s really time to get started with your response. Completing your response might take longer than you expect, especially if it’s the first time, so give yourself plenty of time.

Start with the basics: do you have all the data you need? Who will need to provide it? What are the boundaries (geographic, organisational) of your reporting? Will you make the response public or not?

Get the right data: make sure you allow time for data collection and ideally keep your records up-to-date all year-round to make responding easier and faster each year.

Use the guidance: this might seem obvious, but CDP provides detailed guidance on each question, so use it to understand what information you should provide and what CDP will look for when scoring answers.

Don’t rush: answer the questions one at a time and make sure you don’t leave unanswered questions; omissions will lower your score and can be easily avoided.

June: revise and submit

Now your response is almost ready and you’ve done most of the work. If you’ve planned effectively, you should have enough time to get someone with a good eye for detail to read, edit and revise your response before getting it signed-off. Make sure you meet the deadline: 30 June for the Climate Change program.

November – December: celebrate and learn

Congratulations! You’ve received your score and hopefully it’s a high one. Celebrate, but make sure you make the most of the process, here’s two ways we recommend getting the most out of your CDP score:

  • Ask for feedback — CDP can provide feedback on your response, which is vital to keep improving your score and process year-on-year.

  • Communicate — you’ve gone through the hard work, so let people know about it! Explain your score and use it to engage people in a wider conversation on climate change and carbon. Use the data collected in your communications and reporting, so you don’t double efforts.

How can we help?

CDP reporting can be a bit of a minefield, but we’re here to help. If you would like a chat about this year’s changes and any advice on completing your submission contact the IMS team at +44 (0) 1173250612 /

IMS CDP service

As an accredited CDP provider, IMS has a range of professionals on hand to help. Last year, we helped a record number of companies across Europe improve their CDP disclosure and performance score. Our service includes:

  • reviewing your previous year’s CDP submission, providing you with detailed analysis and understanding where points were lost.

  • helping you identify areas of improvement and benchmarking against peer companies.

  • developing a draft response to maximise your score.

  • identifying additional improvements during a final draft submission review.

  • indicating the score you are likely to achieve.

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