"If you want to stay at the top, you have to keep improving"

Since 2010, Evonik has been involved in the Carbon Disclosure Project (CDP). The global non-governmental organization is regarded as the world's largest investor-driven initiative for climate protection. Once a year, the CDP uses standardized questionnaires to collect data and information on companies' responsibilities and organization with regard to climate protection, greenhouse gas emissions, climate risks or opportunities, and reduction targets and strategies. Currently, almost 600 institutional investors with assets of around US$100 trillion are interested in the results. Dr. Ulf Auerbach, Senior Expert Energy & Climate, explains the importance of the organization for companies like Evonik in an interview.

Mr. Auerbach, inclusion in the Carbon Disclosure Project's "A List" is regarded as an accolade for companies that are committed to climate protection. Evonik has now also been awarded the top grade A in the category "Climate Change Supplier Engagement. What does that mean?

Recognition by the CDP is evidence of our company's ongoing commitment in all areas of climate protection. This in turn is an important part of our sustainability strategy. Evonik's "A" ranking puts it in the top 7 percent of all companies and makes an important contribution to applying this issue to the entire value chain. What is special about the Supplier Engagement category is our contribution to helping our customers achieve their climate targets. Our good score reflects the high priority we give to environmental issues and sustainability.

Incidentally, our own internal climate strategy has also been awarded Leadership status (A-).

Dr. Ulf Auerbach is Senior Expert Energy & Climate at Evonik.
Dr. Ulf Auerbach is Senior Expert Energy & Climate at Evonik.

We have been participating in the CDP for some time now. Why are we now receiving this award? What have we done differently?

The ranking is based on the extensive transparency of our climate strategy, such as the disclosure of climate-relevant data - in some cases down to the product level. This information is very helpful for the further development of products in the next stage of a value chain. Participants who respond particularly comprehensively here also receive a Supplier Engagement Rating (SER). In 2020, we provided significantly more information than before and were thus able to achieve our TOP SER ranking. This is why we were also awarded the title "Supplier Engagement Leader".

What advantage do customers like Henkel or Beiersdorf have when they request information about us via CDP?

Customers and consumers are demanding that companies take responsibility for their supply chain - because corporate emissions don't end at their doorstep. Through the Supply Chain Program, CDP enables companies across industries to measure and compare their climate action and strategy beyond their own factory gates. This disclosure process makes our communications credible to customers and highlights the progress we are making on climate protection. In addition, the standardized data is more comparable for our customers.

When it comes to fundamentally evaluating a company, sustainability is of particular importance.

Investment decisions are based on profit expectations, which result from the difference between expected future sales minus costs. Both factors are significantly influenced by regulation, for example CO2 taxes or government subsidies for sustainable products. However, the key question at the end of the day remains what price our customers are willing to pay for our products. The higher the product acceptance, the more customers are also willing to pay a "premium". From the entirety of the annual data collection, investors can therefore derive risk or opportunity profiles of the companies under consideration and factor them into their investment decisions. For the leading companies in the CDP ranking in particular, it is important to improve from year to year if you want to stay at the top.