Coming top of the class in CDP

Ivor talks about Centrica succeeding in CDP

Our latest blog is from Ivor Gibbons, Corporate Responsibility Manager at Centrica. Ivor leads on the Group’s sustainability reporting as well as working on CR strategy, assurance, governance and the company’s global sustainable supply chain programme.

Ivor Gibbons, Corporate Responsibility Manager at Centrica:

Energy affordability and climate change are some of the biggest issues our society faces today. A growing number of people are facing cost-of-living challenges that impact their ability to keep their home warm and well lit while global greenhouse gas emissions continue to rise. At Centrica, we are working to address these issues by focussing on energy efficiency and innovation to cut our customers energy consumption, thereby reducing bills and carbon emissions. We are also playing an important role securing affordable energy supplies our customers need in a way that limits our impact on the environment through a diverse fuel mix.

With that in mind, I’m very pleased to say that Centrica has achieved its best result to date having come joint-top of the leader board for FTSE 350 companies by CDP, an international NGO that has the world’s largest collection of data on corporate climate change impacts. For the first time, we were awarded top marks in both the Climate Performance and Disclosure Leadership Indexes

Let me tell you some more about how we performed in this year’s results

For the first year, Centrica has been awarded an ‘A’ performance for the positive action we’re taking to reduce greenhouse gas emissions generated through our operations, by our customers and in our supply chain, which places us in The A List: The CDP Climate Performance Leadership Index. We also achieved 100 out of 100 for transparent disclosure and strong data management of climate change information. This means we rank as one of only seven companies to feature in the Climate Disclosure Leadership Index(CDLI) for seven consecutive years which is based on those in the top 10% of results.

And out of nearly 2,000 companies, we were one of only 24 companies to feature in both Indexes (and one of only 11 FTSE 350 companies). This result improves on our 2013 scores of ‘B’ for performance and 97 out of 100 for disclosure. Improvements were largely due to carbon saved in our customers’ homes and the strong performance of our nuclear power plants, additional wind capacity as our Lincs offshore wind farm came fully online as well as providing greater transparency in our reporting.

So what is CDP and why is it important?

CDP is an independent annual assessment that focuses on greenhouse gas emissions, emissions reduction targets as well as risks and opportunities associated with climate change. It’s important because it provides:

  • Transparency for our stakeholders that we know and manage energy’s impact on climate change by tracking progress annually.
  • Confidenceto investors that we are managing our climate change risks and opportunities. CDP represents over 760 investors with around a third of the world’s invested capital (US$92 trillion) so performance scores provide a useful tool for a growing number of institutional investors to evaluate corporate efforts on climate change and how it could affect their portfolio.
  • Leadership through a comparison of peers which helps identify best practice and stimulates action to reduce carbon emissions.

Here are some highlights from our CDP submission

The document covers a wide range of areas from our strategy on climate change, risks and opportunities and lots of data on our emissions and emissions reductions activities.

One key data point is the 9.8m tonnes of CO2 equivalent emissions saved through energy efficient products installed in customer homes since 2010 such as insulation, new efficient boilers and solar. These products help make energy more affordable by reducing consumption and carbon emissions which is comparable to taking 668,000 cars of the road.

Examples of other innovative new products and services are also documented that help customers better understand their energy use and give them greater control. In the UK we are a leader in the roll-out of smart meters having installed over 1m in homes and in North America we have developed time-of-use products, such as Free Power Saturday, which are improving customer retention, while also reducing demand on the grid during periods of peak energy consumption.

The report also highlights our efforts reducing our own emissionsAs I mentioned earlier, we strive to secure affordable supplies of energy in a way that meets our commitment to decarbonisation and our strategic investments in gas (the cleanest fossil fuel), nuclear (low carbon) and wind energy (renewable), means that we have one of the lowest carbon intensity fuel mixes of the major UK energy generators. A range of initiatives are further mentioned that are helping reduce our internal carbon footprint by 20% by 2015 such as better energy management at our offices, promoting electric vehicle company cars and encouraging fuel efficient driving.

In addition to setting out initiatives, the submission also flags key risks, which for Centrica include uncertainty surrounding new regulation, reduced accuracy of demand forecasting and severe weather events.

We’re delighted by our inclusion in the CDLI and The A List but there is more we can do. We will endeavour to help our customers cut their energy use, seek solutions to reduce our own carbon emissions while further developing our carbon reporting to support a future where energy is more affordable and low carbon. We also recently received our water CDP results and while water isn’t a material issue for our business, we will work with CDP to better understand and improve how we report on this issue.

If you want to find out more, you can explore the CDP results, read our CDP submission, or visit our responsibility pages. If you get the opportunity I suggest you do take a look!