Introduction to Scoring
CDP works with cities to motivate them to disclose their impacts on the environment and take action to reduce negative impacts. The scoring methodology is designed to incentivize actions that are to a certain extent applicable to all cities regardless of geography or level of development. Scoring assesses the level of detail and comprehensiveness of a city’s actions and planning as reported in the CDP questionnaire, and does not consider any other actions and plans that are not reported within the questionnaire.
In order to receive scores which accurately reflect a city’s adaptation and mitigation actions, it’s important that the questionnaire is answered as thoroughly as possible, with a high level of completeness.
Scoring cities responses to the CDP questionnaire enables us to provide feedback to cities on the completeness of their response and their performance on climate action. Scoring allows CDP to recognize leadership in city climate action and encourage cities to follow best practice. Cities can use their score as a tool to identify gaps and improve climate planning incrementally each year. Cities can also use their score to benchmark their performance against the average scores of other cities in the same region.
Scores remain private to cities, but we highlight the leadership of cities who receive an A score.
In 2020, 88 cities, representing a combined population of 125 million people, received an A score.
This document provides information about our scoring methodology and indicates the steps cities can take to improve their response.
This guidance is correct as of [13th May 2021]. The guidance is subject to change, but we will notify users by email of any changes.
Cities are assessed across four consecutive levels which represent the steps cities move through as they progress towards environmental stewardship. The levels are:
- Disclosure (D- or D): A city in the Disclosure scoring band has just started the journey of understanding and reporting on climate impacts. These cities understand the value of collecting data to drive climate action but may not have structures or resources in place to obtain the necessary information. Cities in the Disclosure band report on the degree to which climate impacts and risks have been measured.
- Awareness (C- or C): A city in the Awareness scoring band is in the process of assessing the main risks and impacts of climate change. These cities have begun developing an assessment and measuring impacts to get a holistic understanding of the main effects climate change has on their city but is only beginning to take action to reduce them.
- Management (B- or B): A city in the Management band has understood the main risks and impacts of climate change and is taking action to adapt to and reduce these effects. These cities have worked collaboratively with key stakeholders to understand their risks and impacts and now have plans in place to mitigate and adapt.
- Leadership (A- or A): A Leadership city demonstrates best practice standards across adaptation and mitigation, has set ambitious but realistic goals and made progress towards achieving those goals. Cities in the Leadership band have strategic, holistic plans in place to ensure the actions they are taking will reduce climate impacts and vulnerabilities of the citizens, businesses and organizations residing in their city.
In order to progress form one level to the next, cities must pass the threshold at each scoring band. For example, a city must receive enough points in the Disclosure band to pass the threshold before they will be scored in the next scoring band, Awareness. Cities do not need to meet every criteria listed to pass the threshold of a particular scoring band. However, the more criteria they meet, the higher the chance that the city will be able to earn enough points to surpass the threshold and be scored in the following band.
Management and Leadership bands have essential criteria which MUST be met in order to receive a score within those bands. This means that regardless of all other criteria met, if a city does not meet the essential criteria in Management, their score will be reduced to Awareness level. In order to receive a Leadership score, a city must have met all essential criteria in Management and Leadership.
Cities should ensure that they have attached all essential criteria documents before submitting their response to the 2021 questionnaire in order to receive a score which truly reflects their planning and actions.
The essential criteria for 2021 is as follows:
Management essential criteria:
- Cities must respond "YES" to having an adaptation plan in question 3.2 and ATTACH their adaptation plan in question 3.2a OR cities must respond "YES" to having an action plan in question 5.5 and ATTACH an action plan in question 5.5a
- Cities must respond "YES" to having a city-wide emissions inventory in question 4.0
- Cities must respond "YES" to having a vulnerability assessment in question 2.0 and must ATTACH their assessment in question 2.0b
- Cities must respond "YES" to having an adaptation plan in question 3.2 and ATTACH their adaptation plan in question 3.2a
- Cities must respond "YES" to having an action plan in question 5.5 and ATTACH an action plan in question 5.5a
- Cities must have a fully reported GHG emissions reduction target either:
- Cities must ATTACH a city-wide inventory in question 4.5
- Cities must submit their response publicly
- One overall letter score indicating the overall level of climate disclosure and performance as assessed by the information provided in the response;
- One Adaptation letter score indicating the level of climate disclosure and performance as assessed by the information provided in the response to questions falling under Adaptation;
- One Mitigation letter score indicating the level of climate disclosure and performance as assessed by the information provided in the response to questions falling under Mitigation.
Leadership essential criteria:
- Sector, base year, base year emissions, target year, percentage reduction target ALL complete AND target year in future if answering 5.0a/5.0c/5.0d.
- Sector, target year, target year emissions ALL complete AND target year in future if answering 5.0b.
A list essential criteria:
Scores cities will receive in 2021Cities who submit a response to the full Cities 2021 questionnaire before the scoring deadline will receive:
|Section of the Questionnaire||Inclusion in sub-scores|
|City details and governance||Both Adaptation & Mitigation|
|Climate hazards and vulnerability||Adaptation|
|Opportunities||Both Adaptation & Mitigation|
Changes to the scoring methodology since 2020
To support a reduction in the reporting effort to improve the disclosure experience, improve data quality and to facilitate year-on-year trend analysis the 2021 Cities questionnaire has undergone minor modifications. These changes inevitably result in slight alterations to the scoring methodology, though it remains broadly the same as in 2020.
In order to better align with the climate emergency we are facing, scoring of cities’ emissions reduction history and emissions reduction goals are being more heavily scored at Leadership level in 2021. In particular, this means that receiving a score which allows entrance onto the A list will be more dependent on a city’s ability to show a history of reducing emissions, and the existence of ambitious forward-facing targets to reach net-zero emissions. Although the 2021 methodology is a continuity of the 2020 methodology, these modifications may affect cities scores.
2021 Cities Scoring Methodology
The scoring methodology provides the full breakdown of the responses CDP is incentivizing within each scoring band for the CDP Cities 2021 questionnaire.
In the scoring methodology you will find for each scoring band:
- The responses that are needed to receive points in that band, broken down by questionnaire section;
- Any essential criteria that are required to achieve a score in that band.
Scoring criteria - City details & Governance
The questions in this section are scored under both Adaptation and Mitigation
- Provides details of the city including administrative boundary, currency, current population and city geography
- Reports on which sustainability goals and targets are incorporated in your city's master plan and describes how each is incorporated
- Has already integrated, or is in the process of integrating sustainability into mainstream city planning
- Demonstrates specific sustainability goals which are already incorporated into mainstream city planning
- Provides a detailed description of the sustainability goals that are integrated in the main city plan