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First 100 days: Daniel Goldsmith, CDP

With a senior leadership career spanning more than 25 years, in both Fortune 500 and high-growth start-up firms, Goldsmith has served as CFO and COO across numerous sectors, from financial services and manufacturing to finance and insurance.

First 100 days: Daniel Goldsmith, CDP

In March 2024, CDP appointed Daniel Goldsmith as CFO. The global non-profit that runs the world’s environmental disclosure system for companies, cities, states and regions.

Goldsmith brings a wealth of diverse and deep financial and operational experience to CDP, and a long track record of building and leading high-functioning global teams.

His former roles include CFO of HUB International, one of the world’s largest insurance brokerage firms, and COO and CFO at PCF Insurance Services, as well as leadership positions with Tenneco Automotive, Borg Warner, Terex Cranes, Almatis and Owens Corning.

The CFO sat down with Daniel at the start of April to find out what he wanted to accomplish in his first 100 days.

How do you plan to align CDP’s financial strategy with its core mission of promoting environmental transparency and action among companies and governments during your first 100 days?

I proudly join CDP at a time when we are making exciting changes to our corporate questionnaire and disclosure portal to further streamline reporting for organisations and generate the most comparable, comprehensive, decision-useful data. The improved technology, combined with CDP team members expertise based in the Americas, Asia, Europe, and the UK, will ensure that CDP can continue to support the exponential rise in disclosure.  We need more, and better, disclosure from real economy organisations and cities to build an accurate picture of progress and develop robust plans for action.

CDP plays a critical role in encouraging companies to disclose their environmental impact. How do you intend to enhance or expand these efforts financially

Disclosure is the cornerstone of action. Disclosing through CDP creates the data needed to act.  As the world’s only independent environmental disclosure system, CDP is essential for organisations big and small to disclosure once and ensure their data is used by many: driving access to capital, business competitiveness, and compliance.

We will have one corporate questionnaire enabling the most holistic, impactful environmental disclosure. Climate change and nature loss are interconnected crises that must be tackled together.  Focusing on climate change in isolation leaves organisations exposed to serious risks in other areas.

The Earth cannot wait. The whole ecosystem back CDP’s strategy of transparency by disclosing information so capital markets can make rational decisions that factor the total cost including environmental impact in factoring economic returns.

Engaging stakeholders is crucial for CDP’s mission. What strategies do you envision for increasing stakeholder engagement, particularly from a financial perspective?

With the stakes even higher, the use case for disclosure data is only increasing. Most major economies are introducing mandatory environmental disclosure, as new frameworks and standards enter the market.  Only CDP ensures disclosure produces high-quality, comparable data that is globally accessible.  One input through our system leads to many uses. Hence our disclosure being able to satisfy a multitude of needs from supplier to customer, and statutory requirements.

The intersection of finance and sustainability is evolving rapidly. How do you plan to innovate or leverage new financial instruments to support CDP’s sustainability goals?

Accessing actionable data is the biggest challenge to the sustainable finance market. We are piloting various sustainability finance and bank programs which facilitate key strategic engagement, environmental disclosure and data insights among banks, financial institutions, large buyers, and suppliers, including small and medium-sized enterprises.   Sustainable finance holds the key to a thriving future, where investments drive economic growth and environmental stewardship.

Environmental risks are becoming significant financial risks. How will you incorporate climate and environmental risk assessments into CDP’s financial planning?

More of our stakeholder’s view sustainability as not an option, but an economic imperative. but are engaged with a transition toward a move to greener economy. CDP is a trusted thought leader and partner in encouraging full transparency in understanding and disclosing environmental data. Improved technology will ensure that CDP can continue to support the exponential rise in disclosure, generating more and better data to inform actionable decision-making. We are scaling for their effort with new portal and an energized team of global experts that can accompany them on that journey.

CDP’s initiatives require robust funding and smart investments. Could you share your approach to securing and managing funding to ensure the organization’s sustainability and impact growth?

CDP targets leaders in industry and philanthropic funders that have an outsized influence by the impact of their disclosure and thought leadership in the vertical.  We seek consultative engagement with our stakeholders, long-term partnerships, and funders with aligned interests.

Accurate measurement and reporting are key to CDP’s mission. How do you plan to improve the organization’s own sustainability reporting and transparency in financial operations?”

To support our next stage of growth and development, we have aligned the organization by functional global expertise to share best practice and build global centres of excellence.  Amongst that we built a new CDP Technology Centre in the UK and are targeting a second Technology Centre in Asia this year.  Change is constant and CDP is ready!

Collaboration with financial institutions, governments, and NGOs is vital for driving environmental action. What role do you see financial leadership playing in fostering these partnerships?

We believe capital markets are rational and with more disclosure and transparency they will make more informed decisions and choices. We are proud to play a role an independent, trusted NGO that advocates for disclosure as the cornerstone of informed action.

As the new CFO, how do you plan to build or enhance the capabilities of your team to meet the evolving demands of sustainability-focused finance?

The CDP team is looking into how we use program management tools and some of Sig Sigma principle to further streamline our processes. The LEAN principles are a journey, not a destination. We look to continue to grow, learn, and develop in service to all our global stakeholders.

Looking beyond the first 100 days, how do you plan to ensure the long-term financial sustainability of CDP, while also advancing its mission to combat climate change and promote sustainability?

CDP is a people centric organization, so we look to foster an environment of innovation and critical thought in our mission for positive change.  We will continue to evolve together and build on our foundational roles in environmental disclosure, driving efficiency for our stakeholders. For overly 20 years CDP pioneered environmental disclosure, this is recognized by corporates, capital markets, municipalities, governments, and scientists alike.

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