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Sustainability is most often planned around the themes of energy, water, waste, and transportation. A best practice when planning, cities publish sustainability goals and results. This report is labeled a Climate Action Plan (CAP).

A key to reporting sustainability is objectivity and valid metrics. There are a number of tools that help measure air quality, water, energy efficiency, and green house gas emissions (GHG).

We see excellent examples of reporting, from cities such as SeattlePortlandNew York, and San Diego. Some of the tools these cities utilize include:

GHG – Global Standard to Measure Greenhouse Gas Emissions from Cities Global Protocol for Community-Scale Greenhouse Gas Emission Inventories (GPC)

Buildings by UNEP – Measuring Energy Use & Reporting Greenhouse Gas Emissions from Building Operations

Transportation

COPERT 4 – a software tool used worldwide to calculate air pollutant and greenhouse gas emissions from road transport.

Air quality

TZOA – a crowdsourcing personal-sensor to measure air quality, temperature, humidity, atmospheric pressure, ambient light and UV (sun) exposure.

There is no coincidence; cities that plan and report sustainability with the greatest amount of detail, also see the best results. Furthermore, cities that are most sustainable are likely to be the most innovative, livable, resilient, and attractive to investment. For this reason, developing a CAP, and measuring and reporting sustainability, is a critical to a city’s economic plan.

If cities are going to be vibrant and resilient, they must be proactive in their CAP’s and sustainability planning, policies, and measurement. Furthermore, cities must create policy that promotes sustainability, along with enforcement. Policy is only as good as enforcement.

A motto of sustainability is, “we manage what we measure.”   The best sustainability plans are measured, reported, and publicized.

How does your city rank?

A critical element to a CAP is managing carbon emissions, or. Some cities are leading the way, and others have yet to initiate or publish a GHG reduction plan. Cities that are proactive sustainability planning now will most likely be the cities that are resilient.

How does your company rate?

GRI – a comprehensive Sustainability Reporting Framework that is widely used around the world.   A sustainability report is a report published by a company or organization about the economic, environmental and social impacts caused by its everyday activities.

What’s next?

No longer is a Climate Action Plan enough. Cities and corporations must begin looking forward 50 to 100 years, and make a Climate Adaption Plan. As sea levels and global temperatures rise, drought, heat-island effects, and poor air quality becomes more extreme. Those with a plan to adapt will be most resilient and most likely be around 100 years from today.

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