The global environmental non-profit Carbon Disclosure Project (CDP) has recognized CN Rail for leadership in corporate sustainability by placing it on its ‘A’ list. Out of nearly 12,000 companies scored by the organization, CN was one of 200 to make the list.
The CDP ranking is compiled via an annual environmental scoring and disclosure questionnaire. The scores can range from an A to a D- based on comprehensiveness of disclosure, awareness and management of environmental risks and demonstration of best practices associated with environmental leadership, such as setting ambitious and meaningful targets.
If companies disclose nothing, they are given an F.
Why does the CDP list matter?
CDP is a global non-profit organization founded in 2000 which runs the world’s environmental disclosure system for countries, companies, cities, states and regions. It is fully aligned with the Task Force on Climate-Related Financial Disclosures (TCFD), itself formed by the Financial Stability Board.
Over 14,000 organizations around the world disclosed data through CDP in 2021, including more than 13,000 companies worth over 64 per cent of global market capitalization, and over 1,100 cities, states and regions. Its 590-plus investors manage over $110 trillion in assets.
There are also forest and water security lists with the same criteria and ranking systems. Twenty-four and 118 companies made those lists, respectively.
“We are proud to have secured a place on CDP’s A-list for the sixth time as well as being recognized for the 12th time. We are committed to powering sustainable growth for our customers, people and communities,” said JJ Ruest, the president and CEO of CN, in a statement acknowledging the recognition. “Our goal is to conduct our operations with minimal environmental impact while providing cleaner, more sustainable transportation services to our customers.
“Since 1993, we have reduced our locomotive emission intensity by 43 per cent, avoiding over 48 million tonnes of GHG emissions. CN’s 2021 CDP response outlines our commitment to support the transition to a low-carbon future, complementing our ongoing discussions with investors and the work we do with our customers on the matter of climate change.”
CN recently signed the U.N.’s Business Ambition for 1.5°C and joined the Race To Zero Campaign, committing to setting targets in line with a 1.5°C scenario and net-zero carbon emissions by 2050. Its website boasts CN consumes almost 15 per cent less fuel per gross ton mile than the industry average, and lists a 33 per cent carbon reduction related to electricity usage at key yards since 2011.
Other companies on the CDP list
CDP lists several reasons for a company to voluntarily submit the questionnaire. Among them are a reputational benefit, to measure benchmarks internally, and measure itself against industry peers.
“Many congratulations to all the companies on this year’s A list,” said Paul Simpson, CEO of CDP in a statement. “Taking the lead on environmental transparency and action is one of the most important steps businesses can make, even moreso in the year of COP26 and the IPCC’s Sixth Assessment Report.
“The scale of the risk to businesses from climate change, water insecurity and deforestation can no longer be ignored, and we know the opportunities of action far outweigh the risks of inaction.”
A total of 286 Canadian companies submitted, or failed to submit, to the questionnaire this year. While some results are not public, there were other notable results. Some, like Brookfield Asset Management, received an F for failure to disclose.
Canadian Pacific Railway, meanwhile, was graded an A-; the Intact Financial Corporation a D; and Manulife Financial Corporation a B-. The Power Corporation of Canada and Cogeco joined CN on the A list.
Ninety-five cities made the A list, with 41 joining for the first time. The Canadian entries were Saskatoon, Calgary, Saanich, Surrey and Vancouver.
CN transports over 300 million tons of natural resources, manufactured goods and finished products through North America on its 31,400-kilometre rail network each year.