What is the new CDP plastics disclosure?
In January 2023, CDP (aka Carbon Disclosure Project) updated its Water questionnaire to include a new module assessing the risks of plastics pollution to water security. The new module is informed by existing plastic disclosure frameworks such as the Ellen MacArthur Foundation and UNEP’s New Plastics Economy Global Commitment framework. Any company that uses, produces, or commercialises plastics falls within the scope of the disclosure.
The Water Security questionnaire W10 consists of nine plastics-related questions. Companies are being requested to disclose information on whether they have:
- Mapped the weight and types of plastic products and packaging across the value chain.
- Assessed human and environmental concerns related to plastics used or produced within the value chain.
- Assessed plastics-related financial or strategic risks along the value chain.
- Set plastic targets across products and/or packaging.
- Eliminated problematic and/or unnecessary plastics in products and/or packaging.
- Adopted reuse models.
What can your company do to prepare?
Most companies will need to assess their current corporate plastic situation as it relates to plastic products and packaging for CDP reporting. We recommend the following 3-part assessment.
- Conduct a plastics baseline assessment. For most companies, the first step to enable plastics reporting is conducting a baseline assessment. It’s important to remember that every organisation’s baseline looks different and is largely contingent on the company’s ability to track and manage plastic-related data. A baseline assessment helps to identify where plastics are used within the company’s products and operations. This assessment will help identify types and volumes of specific plastics used with products and packaging. From there, the company is best equipped to map plastics further across the value chain.
- Map the plastics value chain. A value chain is a series of consecutive steps that go into the creation of a finished product or packaging – from start (e.g., initial design) to finish (e.g., its arrival at a customer’s doorstep). Mapping the value chain will help to identify where plastics are used across the value chain.
- Identify plastic-related risks, opportunities, and circularity potential. Mapping the value chain not only helps identify where plastics are used across the value chain, but also provides insight into value chain risks and opportunities related to plastic use, reduction, elimination, and/or circularity potential. Where relevant and feasible, this assessment should ideally include an identification of raw materials used in plastics products and packaging.
Once the analytics are completed – the next step is to develop a strategy, roadmap, and action plan on how to address plastics used in products and packaging.
A strategy, roadmap, and action plan should consider the following:
- What were the outcomes of the analytics phase, and how does that impact the overall strategy and roadmap?
- What are the business priorities related to plastics?
- Is a corporate policy or position on plastics across its product and packaging portfolios necessary?
- Are plastic related targets related to reduction and/or elimination necessary?
- Is product and/or packaging redesign for plastic reduction or improving circularity potential advisable?
- Is recycled content or alternative materials a viable option?
- Could transitioning to a circular business model bring a sustainable advantage?
- What does the roadmap and timeframe for these plastics reduction activities look like?
- What actionable next steps should be taken to address plastics and enable CDP disclosure
Once the strategy, roadmap, and action plan have been developed, socialised, and agreed upon by relevant stakeholders, the implementation process must begin. While every organisation’s journey will be different based on their level of maturity, the following tasks should be considered for implementation:
- Implement the plastics strategy, roadmap, and action plan with policies, processes, and procedures that help operationalise it.
- Disclose progress to CDP annually.
Improving your CDP Score
How can Anthesis help?
Feeling overwhelmed? Anthesis can help! We have extensive experience supporting companies to understand, strategise, and progress their sustainability and ESG objectives.
Anthesis can help you make the sustainability transition. We have honed our methodology to do baseline assessments and specialise in advising highly matrixed organisations with complex supply chains in meeting their sustainability and ESG related goals. Our global business is in touch with the existing and developing regulatory requirements that will impact your strategy – and our life-cycle assessment (LCA) experts can support setting objectives that make sustainable sense for you and all your stakeholders.