Climate action: data and digital

Can we use data to baseline our current environmental position as well as utilising digital tools to ease this transition?

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LGA Climate Change Survey, February 2020

In February 2020, the Local Government Association (LGA) conducted a survey of Directors of Environment or equivalent of all councils in England. The purpose of the survey was both to assess what actions councils have already taken to mitigate and/or adapt to climate change and to ask them what policy changes would enable them to do this in future more effectively. A total of 98 responded – a response rate of 29 per cent.

The Greenhouse Gas Accounting Tool

The Greenhouse Gas Accounting Tool has been developed to provide a straightforward and consistent approach for councils seeking to calculate their own greenhouse gas emissions. A calculation of an annual greenhouse gas baseline is an important part of managing the emissions in our organisations.

This is the tool and a set of FAQs to help you navigate the questions. You can also view an explanation of the tool through a webinar and accompanying slides.

The tool produces summary tables and charts to help councils understand their most significant sources of emissions, which can then be used to prioritise actions to reduce greenhouse gas emissions. We have updated the tool since the first version in 2020 so please do download it again. It is free to use for all councils in England and Wales.

The tool has been reviewed by the Carbon Disclosure Project for compliance, and can be used to disclose council emissions data to the CDP-ICLEI Unified Reporting System in the Local Government Emissions section.

Councils are also able to benchmark their emissions with other councils to understand how their performance compares with their peers. To participate in the benchmarking please submit your completed baseline by email to by 31 October 2021.

If you have any questions or suggestions for improvement, please contact

Scope 3 greenhouse gas emissions for social care: Guidance for local authorities

This is sector-specific guidance for social care services Scope 3 GHG emissions, covering all the main aspects of social care spend and applicable to both outsourced and in-house services. It is structured as follows:

  • Introductory information, including what Scope 3 emissions are
  • Screening – a starter’s guide for local authorities when undertaking Scope 3 reporting to aid beginners, and a refresher note for those more advanced
  • Technical – interpretation of accounting protocol for social care and recommended approaches to accurately account for key activities.

Webinar slides

Webinar blog

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City of Bradford Metropolitan District Council: ‘Virtual Bradford’ – an open digital twin for the City of Bradford

Digital twins are an excellent tool that can be used to create what-if scenarios and enable data-driven decision making, which will be explored by the Council and others.

Read the full case study

LB Hammersmith and Fulham: Climate implications toolkit

The climate implications toolkit is a qualitative self-assessment tool to help all council officers assess and improve the alignment of their projects, procurements, commissioning, and services with Hammersmith and Fulham's climate and ecology strategy.

Read the full case study

Dundee Council: Mitigating climate change risk

In March 2018, Dundee City Council signed the Global Covenant of Mayors for Climate and Energy, committing the Dundee Partnership to develop a Climate Action Plan within two years to reduce city-wide carbon emissions by 40% by 2030.

Read the full case study

Bristol City Council: Share insights and evidence of success

Bristol was European Green Capital in 2015 and although they have a fifteen-year history of working to reduce the city’s contribution to climate change, in the last couple of years Bristol City Council stepped up its climate work and became the first local authority to declare a climate emergency in November 2018.

Read the full case study

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UK Green Building Council

UKGBC has developed a guide to support commercial real estate companies with scope 3 reporting and improve the overall understanding of scope 3 emissions within the sector. You can find the guide to Scope 3 Reporting in Commercial Real Estate.

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Digital solutions to the climate crisis, 9 February 2021

Event summary and what next

The potential of digital in meeting net zero (PDF)
Ellen Wilson, Sustainability and Smart Cities Lead, Microsoft Public Sector UK

Civic engagement on climate (PDF)
Paul Brewer, Director of Digital Sustainability and Resources, Adur and Worthing Council

Green tech and open innovation: collaborating with scale-ups to support the green recovery (PDF)
Ian Caveney, Head of Tech for Good, BT

Mobility (PDF)
Brian Matthews, Head of Transport Innovation, Milton Keynes Council