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Corporate Sustainability

Net-Zero Data Public Utility Platform Makes Climate Data Accessible

With its debut at COP28, the NZDPU improves access to credible data to speed climate action.

By Gabriel Presler, Updated December 4, 2023

Read Time: 1 Minute

Addressing climate change is a tall order, as countless climate meetings and summits including COP28 will attest. By many accounts, progress has been too slow, but that doesn’t mean there aren’t bright spots. One that’s especially meaningful for sustainability professionals like me is the leap forward the corporate world has taken in the quality and comparability of climate-related data.

I can remember when only a handful of companies participated in tracking their environmental impact. Today, 71% of large public companies disclose their emissions data. With more transparent and comparable data, different corporate functions, policymakers, and investors can speak a shared language and understand the ways they can really use this data to make decisions. My team experiences this firsthand when we gather with our counterparts across the firm to review Morningstar’s environmental footprint—the same data that’s available to our shareholders—and collectively weigh the trade-offs of different management approaches to reducing our emissions.

The NZDPU Prototype Launch at COP28

We understand the power that data and transparency hold to drive change—it’s at the heart of Morningstar’s founding four decades ago. That’s why we’re so optimistic about the debut of the Net-Zero Data Public Utility (NZDPU), the first global, centralized database containing private sector climate data, which is critical for the net-zero transition. It’s free and available to all.

Morningstar joined this international industry initiative as an active member and technical advisor last year. And on Saturday at COP28, the coalition, including Climate Data Steering Committee Chair Mary Schapiro, French President Emmanuel Macron, and Michael Bloomberg, unveiled the prototype.

As our CEO Kunal Kapoor put it: “The Net-Zero Data Public Utility delivers a unified, global, high-quality climate data repository, and we’re proud that our shared commitment to transparency will ensure access for all audiences. The platform reflects an industry effort that is an urgent opportunity to democratize access to the climate data that investors deserve. Open, accessible data is critical so each of us can examine long-term material risks and achieve success on our own terms.”

The NZDPU prototype initially includes Scope 1-3 greenhouse gas emissions data and reduction targets for approximately 400 companies based on their CDP disclosure. What’s more, the platform provides jargon-free language and definitions for each of the data points it surfaces to better arm investors and the public with information for decision-making. I hope you will join members of the public in providing feedback on the proof of concept via and participate in a 90-day public consultation process and survey.

The Future of Climate Data Accessibility

We have a long way to go; the technology, policy, and investment mix will surely change over the next decade. But it will take accessible, high-quality, and comparable climate data to achieve a global net-zero economy, and we can all be encouraged by the progress in data quality and access that the NZDPU represents. We are excited to continue this work to make climate data accessible to all.