Climate Data Steering Committee announces next steps for groundbreaking net-zero public data utility, white paper recommendations
November 10, 2022
Utility will make it easier and more transparent to determine whether private sector businesses are delivering on climate commitments
Sharm El-Sheikh – Today, the Climate Data Steering Committee (the Committee) outlined next steps on its recommended plans for the Net-Zero Data Public Utility (NZDPU). The open-data public utility will collect and aggregate net-zero climate transition data by drawing on private sector climate commitments. The Committee intends that the NZDPU will bring transparency to efforts to transition to a net-zero economy by addressing data gaps, inconsistencies, and barriers to information that slow climate action. It will provide accurate, trusted and verifiable climate transition-related data, openly available in a single place for the first time.
Since its formation in June by French President Emmanuel Macron and UN Special Envoy for Climate Ambition and Solutions Michael R. Bloomberg, the Committee, chaired by Mary Schapiro, has released draft recommendations for the NZDPU and solicited feedback from a wide range of stakeholders and experts. Supported by Bloomberg Philanthropies, today’s final white paper lays out the key data challenges and sets out recommendations for necessary foundational data that is needed to help solve these challenges. This foundational data should be included in the initial phase of the NZDPU, such as current and historical GHG emissions data across Scopes 1, 2 and 3, detailed fields capturing emissions reduction targets and use of carbon credits, and data identifying the assurance and verification of disclosure.
The lack of availability of accessible, high-quality, and consistent data remains one of the biggest challenges for organizations’ development and implementation of net-zero transition plans. Civil society, investors, regulators, and policy makers similarly require this data to compare and evaluate those plans. The NZDPU will arm financial institutions with the information they need from the companies they finance so that they can then develop and execute on their own transition plans. The utility also will support efforts in developing and developed nations to enhance transparency for business climate action commitments and will be available to the market, regulators, climate scientists, and civil society.
To support these goals, the Committee and CDP are collaborating on efforts to provide the NZDPU with a foundational layer of data. CDP’s disclosure mechanism is a leading global platform where this depth of information can be disclosed, with nearly 20,000 disclosing entities in 2022. To better serve stakeholders who want to evaluate progress against transition planning guidance, the Committee recommends that the NZDPU and CDP work with regulators setting disclosure standards to integrate their reporting requirements into the data portal.
By providing freely available data capturing the breadth and depth of emissions and target reporting, the NZDPU provides a powerful feedback mechanism for financial institutions, companies, and governments. The Committee recommends that the data uploaded in the NZDPU will be freely available on an open basis as a public good for stakeholders to use as they see fit. Going forward, stakeholders will be able to track companies and financial institutions’ climate progress, including through highlighting gaps between their metrics and targets and headway relative to peers. In this way stakeholders can assess the extent to which any shortfalls in progress are idiosyncratic, reflecting the institution itself, or the product of broader factors. The Committee has also published today a Request for Proposals to build out a beta pilot of the Net Zero Data Public Utility. Submissions will be due by February 15, 2023, with the goal of one or more technical providers being selected by the end of Q1 2023.
The following groups have been set up to work alongside the Committee and provide expert input through the Utility’s development:
- Civil Society and Expert Advisory Panel
- Financial Institution focus group
- Assurance and Verification Providers focus group
The following group is in the process of being established:
- Corporate focus group
Sign up forms for the existing focus groups are available at www.nzdpu.com. and members will be added on a rolling basis.
It is anticipated that a beta pilot of the NZDPU will be up and running in the second half of 2023.
The intention is for the NZDPU pilot to ultimately be hosted by the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC) Global Climate Action Portal.
The Committee is dedicated to regional diversity and supporting a just transition. Members of the Committee include representatives from:
- Developed and developing countries, including Chile, France, Gabon, Ghana, Singapore, Switzerland, and the United Kingdom;
- Policymakers and relevant bodies, including the European Commission and European Financial Reporting Advisory Group (EFRAG);
- International organizations and global standard setters are also part of the Committee, including the United Nations (UN), Organization for Economic Co-operation and Development (OECD), Financial Stability Board (FSB), International Organization of Securities Commissions (IOSCO), International Sustainability Standards Board (ISSB), Network for Greening the Financial System (NGFS), International Energy Agency (IEA), CDP; and
- Data service providers, including Bloomberg LP, London Stock Exchange Group, Moody’s, Morningstar, MSCI Inc., and S&P Global.
Michael R. Bloomberg, UN Special Envoy for Climate Ambition and Solutions, said: “Without consistent, comparable and accessible data on corporate emissions, investors have no leverage to push companies to act and the public has no way to hold them accountable. That opens the door to greenwashing and prevents investors who have made ambitious climate commitments from making decisions that help them reach their goals. It adds up to a big problem – and the data portal will be a big step towards fixing it by making climate data more reliable, accessible, and transparent.”
Mary Schapiro, Chair of the Climate Data Steering Committee, said: “Data availability and quality remain some of the biggest challenges in the development and implementation of actionable net-zero transition plans. It hampers stakeholders’ ability to access the data they need to establish an emissions baseline, set targets, develop plans for clients’ and companies’ emissions reductions and assess progress. GFANZ is proud to support the efforts of the Climate Data Steering Committee in making recommendations for the design and development of the Net-Zero Data Public Utility (NZDPU), a first-of-its-kind, open-data utility. Once delivered next year, the NZDPU will provide individuals, companies, and governments with a trusted central source of verifiable data to track and understand firm GHG emission footprints, and to assess progress against emission reduction targets.”
Simon Stiell, Executive Secretary of UNFCCC, said: “I thank President Macron and Special Envoy Bloomberg and their partnership with the UNFCCC Secretariat to deliver this open data initiative which is crucial to our efforts here at COP27 and beyond. We need greater ambition and urgent action to tackle the climate crisis and we need it from all actors, all sectors, all regions and all nations. For this, we need a bedrock of trust that is built on open, reliable and transparent data. The Net-Zero Data Public Utility helps get us there by making it easier and more transparent to determine whether businesses are delivering on their climate commitments, ultimately helping key private sector actors meet their promises.”
Professor Lee White, Gabon’s Minister of Water, Forests, Sea and Environment, said: “The global effort to fight climate change over the coming decades will be a defining moment in the history of our species. To be successful, we need a one-stop-shop portal that we can refer to for reliable statistics and syntheses of the adequacy and integrity of our commitments to reduce emissions, increase sequestration and to finance developing nations in their efforts to cope with the impacts and to contribute to the fight against climate change, by constraining increases and then reducing emissions and maximizing sequestrations. This needs to provide near real-time updates that will drive heightened ambition across public and private sectors and identify strategic areas for improvement.”
Matthew Opoku Prempeh, Minister of Energy from Ghana, said: “Effective action against climate change requires consistent, high-quality data that is accessible to a wide range of stakeholders around the world. For too long, imbalanced or asymmetric information has hampered the capacity for truly global coordination and action to accelerate the net-zero transition. The Committee’s work will address those challenges by providing data on an open access basis and with meaningful input from developing economies and others at the heart of the fight against climate change.”
Nicolette Bartlett, Chief Impact Officer, CDP, said: “CDP is pleased to be part of such an important collaboration and to put the weight of our global environmental disclosure system behind it. Along with other leading environmental disclosure and standards organizations, we have been working towards global harmonization and standardization of climate data for many years, with the goal of enabling faster corporate climate action. The NZDPU will be a significant step forward in this mission and, critically, will enable more rapid digitization of core climate data, which in turn will help further drive the transition to a net-zero global economy.”