Secrets of the Disruptors:
Paul Simpson, CDP

Secrets of the Disruptors Paul Simson CDP

Following on from last year’s highly successful Secrets of the Pioneers report, BusinessGreen in association with Greenhouse PR, will be launching a new Secrets of the Disruptors report on 16th October at the BusinessGreen Leaders Summit.

Disruptors are critical to meeting the big environmental challenges we face today. From energy to food and transport, the Secret of the Disruptors report shows how radical people and organisations are shaking up entire markets.

In the run-up to the release, we will be sharing extracts from interviews with pioneers who are disrupting business as usual in pursuit of a step change in environmental progress and green economic development.

Paul Simpson is the CEO of CDP, formerly the Climate Disclosure Project. CDP runs the global disclosure system that enables companies, cities, states and regions to measure and manage their environmental impacts, and it has done so by building the world’s most comprehensive collection of self-reported environmental data in the world.

What does your organisation do and how is it challenging the industry status quo?

CDP’s mission is to focus investors, companies and cities on taking urgent action to build a truly sustainable economy by measuring and understanding their environmental impacts.

Eighteen years ago, we set out to transform capital markets using the power of transparency and data.  We do this through our disclosure system, data analysis and expert insights.

In 2018, we collected environmental data from over 7,000 companies with 55 per cent of global market capitalisation as well as from over 750 cities, states and regions. This was on behalf of over 650 investors with assets of $87tr, and 115 big purchasers who ask their suppliers to disclose.

Why is this disruptive model critical for tackling environmental challenges?

You can’t manage what you don’t measure. Once companies and cities know where their key impacts, risks and opportunities lie, they can focus their resources effectively.

Only with this transparency can investors, customers and governments support more sustainable business.

Disclosure is the fundamental foundation of a sustainable economy and it is well on the way to becoming a business norm.

What are the challenges in creating a business and investment case for this approach?

The most persuasive point is companies’ investors and biggest corporate customers want them to disclose. Measuring and managing environmental risk, sharing progress with stakeholders and getting ahead of regulation are other benefits.

Investors are concerned with material risk in their portfolios and the threat of stranded assets. Many consider over-exposure to high-carbon stocks to be risky due to physical environmental impacts and low carbon shifts in the economy.

How do you think the business world is going to change by 2050?

Climate change is going to transform the global economy and the way people do business. By 2050, environmental action will be as important as financial performance, with environmental data considered alongside financial data in investment, procurement and strategy decisions.

Bolstered by science-based targets in their strategies, companies will be operating at, or close to, zero emissions.

All companies will be powering operations with clean energy and many will be net positive.

Read the full interview in the Secrets of the Disruptors report launched in collaboration with BusinessGreen.