OSI’s Voluntary Disclosures to Climate Non-Profit, CDP, Light Pathway Toward Progress
August 28, 2020
On August 26, 2020 OSI will voluntarily disclose detailed information about potential impacts the company and its supply chain may have on the climate and forests. The annual disclosure will be made to the CDP, a non-profit organization dedicated to addressing human impacts on climate change.
The organization (which originally went by the name Climate Disclosure Project, but now goes simply by its acronym) was formed in 2002 in an effort to make environmental reporting and risk management a new business norm. The non-profit now offers governments and companies the opportunity to disclose information related to climate change, forests and water security. It promotes these disclosures as a way to respond to growing market demand for transparency, a way for companies to stay ahead of future regulations and uncover opportunities for improvements.
As a private company dedicated to advancing toward our own ambitious sustainability goals, OSI decided in 2018 that, while we couldn't publicly disclose the answers to CDP’s questionnaires for both competitive reasons and to protect confidential information about our partners, it was still in our interest to privately participate.
The process itself is intentionally rigorous. It requires companies to dig deep into data and pause, amid the bustle of daily business, to reflect on the systems we have in place to ensure that we are being as environmentally responsible as possible in our global operations and sourcing of commodities.
Knowing that this process would drive improvement, two years ago we incorporated CDP reporting into our sustainability goals. Specifically, we challenged ourselves to respond annually to the CDP's supply chain and forest questionnaires by 2025. We began this work immediately and are proud to report that this year will be our third consecutive year reporting to the CDP. Rather than simply tick a box, declare the goal "achieved" and move on, we plan to continue disclosing each year, despite the goal no longer appearing on our list of sustainability priorities, as a result of it having been met.
HOW REPORTING HAS DRIVEN PROGRESS
Our commitment to continue reporting is driven by the positive results we've seen so far as a result of participating in this voluntary process. As expected, the lengthy questionnaires pushed us to analyze everything that might impact the way we address climate and conservation risks, from our business strategies to our governance structure. It forced us to ask ourselves: Are there better ways to manage our emissions and reduce our carbon footprint? Are there better systems in place to track the origins of commodities sourced from parts of the world that struggle with traceability to ensure we are not indirectly contributing to deforestation in vulnerable areas?
The disclosures have allowed us to benchmark ourselves against others within our industry and strategize our next opportunities for improvement. They've allowed our leadership, employees and customers to see our forest- and climate-related risks, opportunities and impacts. And they have helped ensure that our operations and purchasing decisions are aligned with sustainability goals and commitments within our industry. They have also prompted us to take new action within our company.
OUR FOREST DISCLOSURES
The forest disclosures required us to analyze our sourcing of the four commodities driving global deforestation: palm oil, soy, paper pulp and beef. Following review, OSI began training any staff involved in the buying and selling of forest-risk products to ensure they were implementing best practices to control for risks.
We also brought in an expert to educate staff across OSI regions, about the role key commodities play in deforestation around the world. We administered a supplier survey to find out the degree to which our supply chains are reliant on areas of the globe where deforestation is a concern. And we assessed our supply chain for level of deforestation awareness, traceability and commitment. The survey and assessment results will inform our developing deforestation strategy. In the meantime, we’ve continued to engage with our customers and other stakeholders, to reduce deforestation impacts related to forest-risk commodities.
OUR CLIMATE DISCLOSURES
We've taken similar action related to reducing emissions in our operations and supply chain through our refrigeration conversions, renewable energy purchases and initial work in our on-farm carbon calculation in Europe.
These actions validate CDP's own data, which has found that the very act of disclosing increases the likelihood that a company will have environmental programs in place. According to its data, just 38% of companies disclosing to the CDP for the first time have emissions reduction initiatives, but that figure jumps to 69% for companies reporting for the third time.
Our environmental goals are ambitious. We seek to not only elevate our own standards, but to lead the industry in establishing new norms around sustainable sourcing and food production. The work begins within our own business, where we are working hard to measure our environmental impact and then challenge ourselves to do better. The integrated framework of the CDP disclosures are an invaluable tool lighting the way.