Climate research provider and environmental disclosure platform CDP announced today the release of its company scores for 2021, including its annual “A List” of top performers. Overall, more than 13,000 companies reported environmental data through CDP in 2021, an increase of over 37% over the prior year.

CDP scores companies across the key environmental categories of Climate Change, Forests, and Water Security, providing rankings from D- to A in each, with “D” indicating that the companies are at disclosure level, “C” showing awareness of impact, “B” companies taking action to manage their environmental impact, and “A” companies achieving leadership level.

Despite the increase in reporting companies, the list of those achieving a top “A” rating in at least one of the key categories of Climate Change, Forests, or Water Security declined to 272 from 313, as CDP raised the bar for leadership on climate. According to CDP, more ambitious action is urgently required on climate, and in order to achieve an A score, “companies must have robust governance and oversight of climate issues, rigorous risk management processes, verified scope 1 and 2 emissions and be reducing emissions across their value chain.”

Overall, 14 companies achieved an A score across all three categories, increasing from last year’s record of 10 companies. CDP’s “triple A” companies include Danone, Firmenich, Fuji Oil Holdings, HP, International Flavors & Fragrances, KAO Corporation, Klabin, Lenzing AG, L’Oréal, Metsä Board Corporation, Mondi PLC, Philip Morris International, Symrise and Unilever. With the growth in companies achieving top scores across categories, CDP said that “companies gradually seem to be recognizing this and adopting a more holistic approach to reporting.”

Alan Jope, CEO of Unilever, said:

“We’re delighted that Unilever has been awarded Triple A status for our approach to climate action, water security, and forestry. And it’s great to see so many other companies on the list, indicating a real step change in ambition and shared accountability as we gear up to a net-zero world.”

While the number of companies reaching A status in Climate declined to 200 in 2021 from 280 last year, other categories saw improvements, with 24 companies making the list in Forests, up 50% year-over-year, and 118 in Water, up from 106. 509 companies also improved rankings from C or below last year to B in 2021, indicating increased activity in managing environmental impact.

CDP also indicated that the demand for sustainability information from more than 590 investors, up from 515 last year, representing over $110 trillion in assets, and 200 major buyers (last year 150+) with US$5.5 trillion in procurement spend requesting corporate environmental data through CDP in 2021.

Dexter Galvin, Global Director of Corporations & Supply Chains at CDP, said:

“COP26 highlighted the necessary role corporates play in driving the real economy changes to tackle the climate and ecological emergency, and keep us within 1.5°C. It is fantastic that more businesses are disclosing their impact every year and recognizing the interconnectedness of environmental issues. We now need to see even more ambitious action on climate, and more businesses stepping up on other areas of natural capital. 17,000 corporates failing to even take the first step and report their environmental data is far too many. These companies are not only putting the planet at risk, but themselves. If they continue with business as usual, they will end up on the wrong side of public opinion, regulation and investor sentiment. And scrutiny is rising – empty targets or greenwash simply won’t fly.”

Click here to access CDP’s 2021 company scores and A list.