We spoke with Roxanne King, the Sustainability Manager from BCP Council (formerly Bournemouth Borough Council), who has been disclosing to CDP since 2015 about how she prepares her annual response to CDP.
Why is it important for BCP Council to disclose their climate-related data?
BCP is committed to being recognized as a ‘Green Economy Leader’, a city region that reduces its carbon emissions and demonstrates its green credentials to support business and attract talent. CDP has been extremely useful in helping Bournemouth Borough Council to become fully compliant with the requirements of the Global Covenant of Mayors for Energy and Climate and improve our policies and processes to tackle the causes and effects of climate change.
How do you prepare for the release of the questionnaire?
Throughout the year we track activities, changes and useful information so that nothing is forgotten when we come to fill in the questionnaire. In the lead up to the opening of the CDP platform, we run through the list, adding links and evidence where possible. This allows us to simply drop the information where it’s needed, making the online submission much quicker and easier.
How do you begin responding to the questionnaire?
We review last year’s responses to help identify any gaps and enable us to schedule appropriate time to complete the questionnaire.
Once you’ve started, what is your process in completing it?
If possible, we have two people working together to complete the questionnaire. Sometimes we’ll do it at the same time by creating responses together and marking off sections as complete. If that’s not possible, we work through sections individually and discuss/edit the responses before submitting.
What questions are you more likely to need to come back to, or do some kinds of information take a bit longer to source for the questionnaire?
The emission inventory section requires more time to complete as data needs to be sourced from colleagues in other departments. Compiling a comprehensive list of completed and planned adaptation activities also takes time as we need to collaborate with colleagues from other teams. We often review detailed service plans to find adaptation interventions that are thought of as general activities.
How long do you spend on completing the questionnaire?
This varies from year to year and will depend on factors such as a) how the questions have changed, b) if additional questions have been added, c) if last year’s responses are still accurate and up to date, or if they need to be rewritten to reflect the current activity/situation. On average, we spend around 2-3 hours per week on the submission during the time the portal is open until we are ready to submit.
What functions in the CDP platform help make reporting easier?
The system can copy over last year’s responses which is a huge help. We can review our answers without having to switch between screens, making amendments much quicker and easier. It’s also great that the platform allows more than one user to edit the questionnaire.
Does CDP help to make reporting easier?
CDP gives us an effective framework and appropriate platform for reporting, plus the motivation to get it done. The CDP team are friendly and supportive, providing information not just on the reporting process but also on the practical actions we can do to improve the quality and accuracy of our data. CDP gives us the tools and support needed to meet our reporting requirements.
What is the process for you to get sign-off/ approval from your Mayor/councillors?
The policies, strategies and activities detailed in our CDP questionnaire have been previously approved by our councillors. Our submission acts as a record, bringing together evidence of our climate change adaptation and mitigation interventions, and therefore doesn’t require political approval. The submission is reviewed and signedoff by our Service Director on behalf of the council.
What role do you see disclosure in enabling cities to act on climate change?
Disclosure puts a spotlight on the council to be accountable and transparent with the actions we are taking. It keeps the pressure on us to improve year on year. The process of disclosure provides an opportunity to pick out climate-related issues and solutions to use to engage with relevant teams. It provides an internal and external tool to ensure we are aligned and to plan future actions. Empirical data is crucial to pushing for actions as having an environmental strategy is not statutory for cities.