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CDP, Cities and sustainability reporting, Global Reporting Initiative (GRI), Sustainability, Sustainability Reporting

Cities Need to Engage in Sustainability Reporting

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Photo and Design by Michael White

Cities are getting a lot of attention for taking action on climate change. This action is born out of necessity. Cities have over 50 percent of the planet’s population. It is not surprising that they create 75 percent of greenhouse gas emissions.

By 2050, cities are estimated to have 70 percent of the planet’s population. With this expectation, cities are compelled to respond to increases in waste, effluents, water demand, traffic congestion, and air pollution, just to name a few challenges. One of the ways they are responding is by sharing lessons learned with other cities. Many are joining networks such as C40, ICLEI, and ANSI Network on Smart and Sustainable Cities.

Cities are taking the current and coming challenges seriously. Many cities are preparing sustainability plans, which state goals and targets for carbon emissions, economic initiatives, and waste management. Over time, the plans are assessed using periodic progress reports comparing actual results to targets. In most instances, cities use whatever reporting format they want. These reports are great for presenting what is working and what is not. But is a non-standardized reporting approach optimal for better management, transparency, and communication?

There are several sustainability reporting frameworks, such as the Global Reporting Initiative Standards, ISO 37120 Sustainable Development of Communities – Indicators for City Services and Quality of Life, and CDP Cities, that cities can use to help them manage their sustainability goals and initiatives. Cities do not need to reinvent the wheel!

In a series of future posts, I will talk about these frameworks and why cities should use them.

Stay tuned!!