CEO Today - Africa Awards 2022

51 Transparency: acknowledging the journey and the scale of the challenge For many, the rush to commit to rapidly reducing emissions has attracted criticism for ‘style over substance’ or greenwashing. In this context, it may therefore feel tempting to say less rather than more. However, to build trust it is important to acknowledge the journey and current limitations - no one has all of the answers - what matters is the commitment of sufficient time and resources to find them. It is widely acknowledged that the lack of tools and methodologies available to measure carbon emissions are a significant challenge for companies, with many scope 3 emissions sources currently unable to be reliably measured. Companies are increasingly likely to face criticism for disclosure that focuses only on scope 1 and 2 emissions or is vague as to which types of emissions are included in reported data. In this area, Nestlé leads the way with a ‘What’s not included’ caveat in its emissions reporting making it immediately clear to readers which emissions have been excluded. Another challenge is the use of carbon offsets – a highly contentious topic despite almost all net zero plans relying on some form of emissions offsetting. Companies should be transparent about the level of offsetting that plans rely on, and realistic about the achievability of offsetting as a significant pillar of net zero strategy. Heineken’s communications include a brilliant principlesbased disclosure around its use of offsetting as ‘a last resort’, giving readers a strong sense of commitment to the use of carbon removal in a responsible way. In summary Reporting will continue to evolve, however organisations that lead the way in best-practice reporting will ensure ambitious net zero plans can - and will - receive more trust and credibility. By prioritising transparency, companies can help to foster accountability, influence peers, and help to make meaningful positive environmental progress.

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