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Carbon Disclosure Rating

Carbon Disclosure Rating

What Is a Carbon Disclosure Rating?

A carbon disclosure rating is a measure of the environmental sustainability of a company, based on voluntary disclosures by the company itself. The practice is intended to assist investors who with wishing to incorporate environmental, social, and governmental (ESG) factors into their investment dynamic cycle.

The most widely utilized carbon disclosure ratings are administered by CDP, a United Kingdom-based non-benefit organization formerly known as the Carbon Disclosure Project.

The carbon disclosure ratings collected by CDP are comparable to the carbon disclosures collected by the Amsterdam-based Global Reporting Initiative (GRI). GRI works with organizations and organizations alike, while CDP works specifically with individual companies.

How Carbon Disclosure Ratings Work

The basic framework associated with generating carbon disclosure ratings is the utilization of questionnaires administered by CDP. Companies participating in this program, which number nearly 6,800 as of year-end 2020, submit reactions on an annual basis to a series of inquiries tailored depending on the company's industry. The reactions are then analyzed, graded, and made available to institutional investors and other closely involved individuals.

CDP's metrics separate companies based on their understanding and application of climate-related changes.

An and A-| Leadership level

B and B-| Management level

C and C-| Awareness level

D and D-| Disclosure level

F | Failure to give adequate information to be evaluated

Special Considerations

One analysis of the carbon disclosure rating process is that its scores don't necessarily mirror the actions a company takes to mitigate its impact on climate change or to offset its carbon footprint. Rather, a score may basically mirror that the company failed to instantly or completely uncover information with CDP. For example, for 2020, Amazon (AMZN) was given a score of "F" by CDP because it didn't answer CDP's solicitations for information.

Nonetheless, an "F" doesn't mean the company has failed to reign in its carbon footprint. Rather, it means that the company has failed to give sufficient information to CDP to receive an evaluation. Subsequently, another analysis of the cycle is that the ratings are uncertain, as many companies don't give information to the CDP on what actions they've taken to limit what they mean for climate change.

Real-World Example of a Carbon Disclosure Rating

CDP distributes an annual "A-List" of the companies that ranked most favorably in their carbon disclosure ratings. In 2020, 313 companies were featured on this rundown, many of whom are large multinational corporations that are dominant in their particular industries.

These incorporate many noticeable American companies, like Apple (AAPL), Bank of America (BAC), Ford Motor Company (F), Johnson and Johnson (JNJ), Microsoft (MSFT), and Walmart (WMT).


  • It is administered by CDP, a non-benefit which gathers self-revealed survey reactions from just under 6,800 participating companies.
  • A carbon disclosure rating is a measure of the environmental sustainability of a corporation.
  • Pundits argue scores are uncertain or misleading since failure to give information to CDP — or to give the information promptly — is taken into account when a still up in the air.
  • The companies which achieve the most favorable rankings tend to be large institutions that are dominant in their separate industries.