CDP Cities Platform Helps Track & Disclose Environmental Data

More cities wanted for CDP Cities, an environmental disclosure platform to track sustainability performance.

More than 500 cities, 100 states and regions and 5,800 companies are on CDP Cities, according to the 2017 kickoff webinar.

This global environmental disclosure platform for cities helps them measure, manage and disclose environmental data in a standardized fashion. Data is available through CDP's Open Data Portal. Compiling all environmental data in one place is a free service -- whether a city chooses to disclose its information publicly or privately.

And according to CDP, disclosure works to help cities generate emissions reduction targets. About 33 percent of first-time CDP Cities establish reduction targets, but by the third time, about 56 percent of cities that use the platform establish emissions reduction targets.

CDP also said their tool makes it easier for cities to report to the Global Covenant of Mayors, and the data is accessed by C40 Cities and other partners.

Key CDP Cities features are:

  • City Snapshot - a user-friendly dashboard that is an overview of responses cities complete in their initial survey
  • Cities Analytics - a panel that allows cities to compare their data to others to benchmark performance and learn about what other cities are doing
  • Matchmaking - a service that connects cities to investor networks with more than $100 trillion in assets

Matchmaking can help cities address credit worthiness, aggregate smaller projects and create understanding for data urban mitigation projects.

Accredited service providers can also help cities improve performance.

Using CDP Cities

The city of San Antonio, Texas, uses CDP Cities for reporting and to compile data to help its city council understand what's behind proposed climate action plans, according to Douglas Melnick, AICP, CNU-A, chief sustainability officer.

Melnick's tips for using the CDP Cities platform are:

  • Identify where data is
  • How much time is needed to gather and report data
  • Identify staff that will collect and enter data
  • Double check data accuracy
  • Publicize the city disclosed the information

Financial Analysts Use the Data

Moody's Investors Services uses CDP Cities to assess a city's credit worthiness because it offers a "more systematic and transparent manner when it comes to ratings, research and analysis," said Henry Shilling, senior vice president.

Since 2015, Moody's has stepped up its Environmental, Social and Governance (ESG) efforts using the data to create things like heat maps that identify levels of environmental risks, publish green bond assessments and assess emissions scenarios of particular industries, said Shilling.

Moody's factors in ESG risks when they are likely to affect the probability of default and recoveries, he said. Further, ESG considerations are explicitly scored factors in some of Moody's methodologies.

Moody's seven fundamental ESG disclosure principles are:

  1. Present relevant information
  2. Be specific and complete
  3. Be clear, balanced and understandable
  4. Be consistent over time
  5. Be comparable among entities within a sector, industry, portfolio
  6. Be reliable, verifiable and objective
  7. Provide data on a timely basis

Others like Breckinridge Capital Advisors use the platform -- among others -- in its New City/County Framework, which is a first-of-its-kind attempt to combine measures of economic sources and social progress, according to the firm's Abigail Ingalls.

In the framework, Breckinridge is looking at 100 data points just on sustainability, Ingalls said.

CDP Cities 2017 questionnaires were due by March 17th.

Register for CDP's next webinar -- on how corporate data is disclosed -- on June 8, 2017, at 12:00 p.m. EST.

Learn more about CDP Cities 2017 webinars.

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