CDP and ICLEI launch revamped questionnaire on world’s leading city climate reporting platform

London, 6th April 2022: CDP and ICLEI – Local Governments for Sustainability continue to enhance the leading global climate reporting platform for cities by launching a new questionnaire, aligned more closely with the needs of capital markets. The new, streamlined questionnaire replaces the existing one, raising the bar on tracking progress on cities climate action and simplifying the process for reporting cities.

To reflect this new emphasis on tracking and action, the platform’s name is also changing, from the CDP-ICLEI Unified Reporting System to CDP-ICLEI Track.

Since 2019, CDP – the non-profit which runs the world’s environmental reporting system for companies, cities, states and regions – and ICLEI, a global network of 2,500 cities, towns and regions committed to sustainable urban development, have offered a common platform for cities to report their climate action.

CDP-ICLEI Track is the world’s leading climate progress accountability mechanism for cities – tracking over 1,100 cities’ climate action in 2021 – supported by partnerships with other global organisations such as C40, the Global Covenant of Mayors and WWF. With the new questionnaire, CDP and ICLEI will be tracking cities’ progress for the UN-backed climate campaigns, Race to Zero and Race to Resilience, which bring cities, businesses and investors together to create a zero-carbon future. The questionnaire will also provide data for the Global Stocktake, a purpose-driven and evidence-focused mechanism helping non-party stakeholders implement the goals of the Paris Agreement.

Nigel Topping, UN High-Level Climate Action Champion for COP26, said:

“Joining the UN-backed Race to Resilience and Race to Zero is one of the most effective ways for cities to work towards to a zero-carbon, climate resilient world.

“It’s fantastic that CDP and ICLEI are tracking progress for the cities that have stepped up to the plate and made this commitment – and now, through the data reported, cities are accountable for the pledges that they have made to ensure their environment is protected and that they remain places where people can sustainably live, work and invest in.”

The new questionnaire refines the data collection process to focus on key criteria – and specifically what tangible action is being taken by cities – on climate change mitigation and adaptation, and tracks progress in areas such as science-based targets and investment (to provide greater insights into the finance gap facing cities). Further changes to the questionnaire include:

  • Cities will now receive a tailored, shorter questionnaire, based on their particular characteristics, such as population or greenhouse gas emissions per capita. As climate action and risks look different for individual cities, the updated questionnaire gives three pathways of questions for cities based on their specific situation.
  • The ability to track progress on Race to Zero and Race to Resilience commitments, already made by over 1,000 cities, and contribute data to the Global Stocktake.
  • A focus on climate governance, city planning, targets and other key metrics, like public health, water security and food, are embedded throughout the questionnaire, giving cities a chance to show their action in these areas.

Helping cities attract investment and manage risk through TCFD alignment

With capital markets becoming increasingly interested in municipal climate data, CDP and ICLEI have aligned the cities questionnaire – first launched in 2011 – with the recommendations of the Task Force on Climate-related Financial Disclosures (TCFD), on governance, strategy, risk management, metrics and targets. The enhanced data collected should enable cities to attract investment and manage their own risks. CDP is also expanding its Municipal Disclosure Campaign, in which municipal investment firms will request over 500 North American cities, states, provinces, and public authorities to report their climate information in 2022.

As urgent climate action is needed from governments and non-state actors, like cities, the reporting of climate data takes on a critical new importance. By measuring and understanding their climate impact, cities can more effectively manage and mitigate the effects of climate change.

Kyra Appleby, CDP Global Director of Cities, States and Regions, said:

“COP26 clearly highlighted the need for immediate and urgent climate action for all to see. Sitting on the front line of climate change, cities are a central piece of the puzzle to tackling and mitigating against its effects.

“Climate reporting has never been more important to this herculean task. It helps cities understand what action they must take to keep their area, people and infrastructure safe; access finance for their climate projects; and implement the goals of the Paris Agreement. We are proud of our unique partnerships that help enable this.

“The new cities questionnaire on CDP-ICLEI Track focuses squarely on action in key areas, from energy to resilience. It closely aligns our data with the needs of capital markets, as they deepen their interest in the pivotal role cities play in combatting climate change, and continues to enhance its quality and relevance in a fast-changing environment.”

Maryke van Staden, Director of ICLEI’s carbonn Climate Center, said:

“We are in an urgent race against time to tackle the climate crisis. The actions of local governments around the globe to mitigate and respond to climate change in their territories are critical to protect citizens and businesses, while contributing to this global fight. We know that cities and towns are challenged by constrained capacity and funding. This year’s revamped questionnaire addresses both limitations, while robust responses will further inform ICLEI’s support offer to local governments to scale up climate action.

“By streamlining the reporting process and collecting data on access to finance through CDP-ICLEI Track, we are also eager to build a clearer picture of how local climate action feeds into national strategies and plans.”

Antha Williams, Climate and Environment Program Lead at Bloomberg Philanthropies, said:

“Equipping city leaders with transparent climate data improves decision-making and accelerates investment in this critical decade of delivery.

“This announcement will help bolster the growing global momentum on harmonized climate disclosure and galvanizes local action in the race to net-zero.”

João Henrique Campos, Mayor of Recife (Brazil), said:

With each day that passes, cities around the world are feeling the effects of climate change with ever greater intensity. From rising sea levels to prolonged heatwaves, the damaging impacts of this global problem are affecting the people, infrastructure and economy of cities.

“However, cities have a key role when it comes to tackling climate change in a meaningful way. CDP-ICLEI Track is one of the most important ways that cities, like Recife, can measure and manage the environmental impact, and attract the investment needed to adapt.

“Recife has managed its climate action on CDP-ICLEI’s platform since 2012. We progressed a lot in our climate management, developing a greenhouse gas (GHG) inventory with the most recent data, a vulnerability assessment, an adaptation plan, and a plan to mitigate GHG emissions with an ambitious target aligned with Paris Agreement.”

Andrew Teras, Director, Municipal Research, Breckinridge Capital Advisors, said:

“With the private sector and cities working together and sharing data, knowledge and best practice, the world can be in a much better position to address, adapt to and mitigate the ever-greater challenges posed by climate change.”

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