Request for Proposals: 2022 Boston Climate Progress Report

DEADLINE: Friday, September 17, 2021

August 11, 2021

Summary of Request

The purpose of this Request for Proposals (RFP) is to engage a research team to produce the 2022 Boston Climate Progress Report for the Boston Foundation. This will be a biennial report that is media friendly and accessible to the general public. Its purpose will be to develop support for City actions, projects, and interventions; build a shared sense of mission; and catalyze and support multiple private sector stakeholders to take action on their own. 

The design for the Climate Progress Report has been developed in collaboration with the City of Boston Environment Department and the Boston Green Ribbon Commission.  However, the report is a project of The Boston Foundation and the Foundation will retain editorial control of the Report contents.

The Boston Foundation requests an experienced research team to work in partnership with the TBF Communications & Public Affairs team to develop a comprehensive report that measures progress on emissions reduction targets and resilience targets; and assess impacts of implementation on social equity and climate justice goals. Progress will be measured both on City government action, as well as actions taken by private sector and Boston neighborhoods. We aim to engage stakeholders from various sectors in the Report Card’s findings.  


The City of Boston has been a national and international leader in advancing city-based climate action, including setting three aggressive climate goals: 

1) Achieve carbon neutrality by 2050; 
2) Create resilience to long-term climate risks (sea level rise, coastal flooding, extreme storms and extreme heat);
3) Eliminate racial and social inequities that result from the impacts of climate change.   

The theory of change behind the Boston Climate Progress report is straightforward: we will collectively make the most rapid progress when everyone is well informed about what others are doing, and we have a broadly shared a sense of direction and destiny.  

While the City has detailed roadmaps in place to advance its goals, community-wide climate action requires alignment and collaboration across a very diverse set of stakeholders, parts of government, residents, neighborhoods, community-based organizations, companies, and institutions. Currently there is no vehicle for assessing, sharing, encouraging, and celebrating progress across the full Boston community and to answer such question as: 

  • Are we on track, or off pace to reach our goals?
  • Where are the opportunities for improvement?
  • How can we work better together?

Scope of Work & Categories for Assessment

Over the last six months the Boston Foundation has worked with a team of experts from the City and local organizations to create an outline of specifications for this report. These specifications including scope of work and categories for assessment will be shared and discussed with the selected team in depth. Below are the core elements we would like all research teams to consider in their proposals:

Scope – What is in and what is out?

  • Geographic scope – the report will be focused on climate action within municipal Boston but will also include some description of progress, or lack thereof, on climate action at the regional and Commonwealth scale that significantly affects the ability of the City of Boston to meet its targets.
  • Stakeholder scope – the report will focus both on progress being made by the City of Boston government on the implementation of its Climate Action Plan but will also include assessment of the progress being made by key climate action stakeholders, including progress against climate goals in some of Boston’s key sectors (e.g., health care, higher education, commercial real estate, cultural institutions, etc.) and neighborhoods.

Progress Categories for Assessment – What content areas do we want to evaluate progress on, and against what baseline?

The Report will need to include progress update on at least these three major areas: resilience, mitigation and justice. Within each topic it is imperative that the research team examine each through multiple dimensions, including:

  • Sector Progress – Assessment of how key economic sectors are making progress on [three] focus areas.
  • Neighborhood Progress – Progress against neighborhood-based climate plans, such as the five Climate Ready Boston neighborhood resilience plans (East Boston, Charlestown, Downtown, South Boston, Dorchester).
  • City Progress: Provide summaries of the City’s progress in various climate initiatives. Such reports cited could include but is not limited to the City’s: Climate Ready Boston five-year implementation roadmap, most recent Climate Action Plan Update, and the Resilient Boston plan.
  • Equity: Issues related to climate justice should not be treated as a separate content area but instead should be integrate into the other content areas.

Consultant Requirements

The research team selected for this project will engage in rigorous data collection and analysis of themes relevant to climate issues in the Boston area. The final product of the research will be a written report and recommendations for stakeholder engagement on the Report results.  

The Boston Foundation seeks a consultant who will:

  • Measure progress on emissions reduction targets and resilience targets; and assess impacts of implementation on social equity and climate justice goals.
  • Collect data and gather insights.
  • Develop a Climate Progress Report that will explain, in depth, the themes and trends reflected in the data collection.
  • Follow the Boston Foundation’s Report Guidelines for review and submission requirements. 
  • Prepare a presentation, including slides, for an Understanding Boston Forum (date to be determined at a later time).
  • Recommend an approach to report development, including how to incorporate input from diverse stakeholders and how the report can be structured to reach a wide range of audiences, including considerations of language accessibility.
  • Seasoned consultant with knowledge and experience working in Greater Boston.

Note: Final copy editing, report design and printing is undertaken by the Boston Foundation and is not included in the scope of work of this RFP.  

The Boston Foundation is seeking to produce the first 2022 Boston Climate Progress Report Card of the highest quality.  To that end, TBF is open to organizations and research teams who may choose to collaborate for this project.  

Project Timeline

Below are the general times which we will need to have each part of the report completed. In your application, please share a more detailed projection of when you expect to be able to complete elements of the work. 

  • 2021 - Summer 2022 – Gather data; write report; design engagement
  • Fall 2022 – Release Report; launch engagement events

Proposal Requirements

  • Narrative response, not exceeding five (5) pages, to include the following:
    • Relevant experience in climate research and data gathering.
    • Project Team: 
      • List of all team members and a description of their role on the project.  For proposals featuring collaborations, please identify the project director/project manager roles. 
      • CV/resume for each team member (not included in 5-page maximum)
    • Recommended approach to Report development, including how input from diverse stakeholders can be engaged in informing the report conclusions.
    • Description of project tasks, including planned interviews and anticipated data sources.

In addition, please submit the following: 

  • Project timeline
  • Project Budget
  • 2 relevant work samples.  These can be included as links to websites or online documents.
  • 2 references

Formal proposals must be submitted electronically via email by Friday, September 17th, 2021 at 12:00 PM. Early submissions are encouraged. Applications and questions should be directed Julia Howard, Manager of Special Projects, Communications, The Boston Foundation, at FcH+2KH/RrGKSCh27wAkK6+fTwzfYfhK5Udu7bw14RHaZ4nVA/6yuNGTpoTtEJpAa2TbY1TIPIj+groIULlJAuB+Q3x2GirMF1QWNbMYJF6sewOdrvbLnGBUd3Qp5J1FCwF+YSLyFuvn+81PPW4/YhoaPDVhzkiRSLhia4hS2lN5JI5u0U2K7864lsc8zEN3cQp3JvwIgNb4J5WYQCp2kA==. Applicants will be notified no later than Friday, September 24th, 2021 on the status of their proposal. 

Selection Criteria

The following selection criteria will be utilized to evaluate the written response and assess the team during the interview: 

 Selection Domain Application Section Criteria
 Ability to Deliver
  • Understanding of general trends in the climate field.
  • Experience with rigorous data collection and analysis.
  • Ability to produce a written report that is appealing and understandable to a range of stakeholders.
  • Excellent Communication and time management skills.
 Presentation Skills
  • Ability to explain complex ideas in a cogent, concise way.
  • Ability to effectively brief media and key stakeholders.
  • Comfort with presenting in a large, lecture-style forum.
  • Budget to produce the Climate Progress Report is reasonable
  • The timeline to produce the Climate Progress Report is reasonable

Click here to download a PDF of the RFP.