Practical Delivery – Addressing the Challenges
CDP understands that there are a number of budgetary, political, and time pressures on cities that make disclosure challenging. This section has been designed to address these issues head on and to begin answering some of the questions city officials may have. More information can be found on CDP’s website at www.cdproject.net
How straightforward is the disclosure process and how much time will I need? Reporting to CDP is straightforward. The disclosure request will be issued to city officials in the form of a standardized online questionnaire. Once the data is compiled, it is a simple process to upload the answers into the online platform. CDP offers training and guidance to reporting participants to help them to complete the questionnaire. The CDP reporting tool does not require any research documents to be produced by the reporting city.
What if I already have a form of emissions reporting?
We do not want cities to duplicate effort, but want to help cities better use and make visible the data they are collecting. CDP’s questions are unique and designed to deliver meaningful information, so we encourage cities to disclose even if they already have another form of emissions reporting. However, CDP’s platform is designed to be protocol-neutral, so cities who have measured their emissions using a certain methodology can easily upload the data to CDP. CDP’s experience with corporations over the past decade has demonstrated that disclosure will catalyze standardization.
What is the risk of making such information public?
There is already growing pressure from a number of stakeholders for organizations to disclose their climate change- related data. Some 3,000 companies in some 60 countries now disclose their climate change related data to CDP. The list of disclosing companies grows every year.35
These organizations also have privacy and competition concerns. Yet
all of these organizations have disclosed and many have benefited by having more informed investors and business strategies and a better and more visible corporate social responsibility program, while some have used the information gathered to reduce their carbon emissions and overall operating costs.
How can you compare cities’ emissions data when each city is so different? CDP recognizes that cities are unique and that the greenhouse gas emissions, for example, are a function of a wide range of influences, such as climate, weather, geography, size and wealth. Until these indicators are better understood comparisons on the basis of emissions data alone are limited. This is one reason why the CDP Cities information request asks for a mixture of qualitative and quantitative data.
How do I align people around this initiative?
Carbon disclosure will require the engagement of multiple stakeholders in order to collect and record the data required for the disclosure effort. To ensure alignment around the common goal of carbon disclosure, the initiative will likely need to be championed from the city leadership downward with disclosure potentially established as a key city target and thus a performance objective for city departments. The benefits of the disclosure process (both short and long term) should be effectively communicated to all participants and the process made easy and cost-effective to be involved in. CDP offers advice to all disclosing cities and the data is collected via an online tool that eliminates any extensive travel and reprographic costs. Additionally, by aligning the core stakeholders at this stage, it will make it easier when implementing further disclosure programs and driving city-wide sustainability strategies.
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