The announcement, made as a commitment to the Carbon Disclosure Project (CDP), would require all of Cadbury's hundreds of suppliers to report information such as greenhouse gas emissions data, reduction targets and climate change strategies. Like other food companies, the world's largest confectionery maker cannot ignore regulatory, consumer and investor pressures to reduce manufacturers' impact on the environment. Paul Dickenson, CDP chief executive, praised Cadbury for taking this "significant milestone" and called on other companies to follow the example. Cadbury already reports on its manufacturing CO2 emissions and earlier this year set an absolute target of reducing carbon emissions by 50 per cent by 2020. The company also set targets for packaging and water-use reduction.
"By engaging its supply chain in the CDP process, Cadbury Schweppes will encourage its suppliers to measure and manage their greenhouse gas emissions, and ultimately reduce the total carbon footprint of Cadbury Schweppes' indirect emissions," Dickenson said. He also admitted that the move was also a strategic step for the comoopany as "investors use the quality of a disclosure as a very useful tool to assess how seriously a company is taking the issues of climate change". The Carbon Disclosure Project is an independent not-for-profit organisation that acts as a global secretariat for institutional investor collaboration on climate change. The project conducts a global survey of the top 500 public companies, asking for disclosure and transparency in CO2 emissions and reduction targets.
In September, the CDP highlighted Cadbury as being top of its class for the actions it has taken against climate change. "Cadbury Schweppes was judged among the best in its sector, and distinguished by the disclosure of its strategic awareness of the risks and opportunities of climate change, as well as the quality and effectiveness of programmes put in place to reduce emissions," CDP said. In a recent report the CDP also praised food companies such as Diageo, Coca-Cola and Unilever, after asking manufacturers to fill in a questionnaire on how they try to reduce carbon emissions. About 42 per cent of those responding to the survey in food and drug retailing said they had a CO2 emissions reduction programme in place. About 30 per cent of food manufacturers said they had one.
Dickinson said investors are increasingly viewing good carbon management as a sign of good corporate management. "Our investors are using the quality of the disclosure as a very useful tool to assess how seriously a company is taking the issues of climate change," he said. "As CDP data plays an increasingly important role in informing investors on a company's approach to climate change, the pressure is increasing on companies to respond. And, by moving CDP data collection into company supply chain management, CDP's reach will grow enormously."
CDP is a collaboration of about 315 institutional investors with assets under management of about $41 trillion.