Frankfurt A Model For Sustainability

Most Cities Failing On Sustainability

Cities around the world are failing to meet the needs of their people, according to the inaugural Sustainable Cities Index. However, on a broad scale that measures people, planet and profit, Frankfurt is the world’s most sustainable city. London is the runner up.

The research was conducted by the Centre for Economics and Business Research. It examines 50 cities from 31 countries ranking them across a range of indicators to estimate the sustainability of each city. The cities included in the study were selected to provide a sampling of the planet’s greenest cities.

sustainable Frankfurt green city

The 2015 report finds that no utopian city exists, with city leaders having to manage a complex balancing act between the three pillars of sustainability (people, planet and profit). The overall Arcadis Sustainable Cities Index ranks the cities as follows:

  1. Frankfurt
  2. London
  3. Copenhagen
  4. Amsterdam
  5. Rotterdam
  6. Berlin
  7. Seoul
  8. Hong Kong
  9. Madrid
  10. Singapore
  11. Sydney
  12. Toronto
  13. Brussels
  14. Manchester
  15. Boston
  16. Paris
  17. Melbourne
  18. Birmingham
  19. Chicago
  20. New York
  21. Houston
  22. Philadelphia
  23. Tokyo
  24. Rome
  25. Washington
  26. Kuala Lumpur
  27. San Francisco
  28. Los Angeles
  29. Dallas
  30. Santiago
  31. Sao Paulo
  32. Mexico City
  33. Dubai
  34. Abu Dhabi
  35. Shanghai
  36. Istanbul
  37. Johannesburg
  38. Buenos Aires
  39. Beijing
  40. Rio de Janeiro
  41. Doha
  42. Moscow
  43. Jeddah
  44. Riyadh
  45. Jakarta
  46. Manila
  47. Mumbai
  48. Wuhan
  49. New Delhi
  50. Nairobi

The index takes into account 20 different indicators ranging from green space to income inequality to ease of doing business.

sustainable Amsterdam

Although mature cities achieve the best balance, they cannot rely on historic investment. In a rapidly urbanizing world, the way in which cities are planned, built, operated and redefined has a huge social, environmental and economic impact.

Arcadis defines a sustainable city as one that works well for their citizens in the present without causing problems for themselves and the rest of the world in the future.

Roughly half of Frankfurt’s surface area is green, according to the city’s environment department, which notes that 52 percent of the city area has been set aside for recreation and to offset climate change. It consists of parks, woodland, farmland, orchard meadows, grassland, allotments and hobby gardens, cemeteries, roadside grass verges and bodies of water.

Frankfurt also is a founding member of the Climate Alliance of European Cities, pledging to continuously reduce its carbon emissions by 10 percent every five years, resulting in a 50 percent cut by 2030.

Across the world, cities are performing better for being sustainable for Profit and Planet purposes than they are for People factors. Many of the world’s economic powerhouses are becoming less affordable for their citizens, with the cost of property in New York, London, Paris, Tokyo and Hong Kong penalizing their rankings. There is also a tradeoff globally between strong education and poor work-life balance, particularly demonstrated in Hong Kong.

“City leaders need to find ways to balance the demands of generating strong financial returns, being an attractive place for people to live and work, while limiting their damage to the environment. To truly understand how sustainable a city is, we must understand how it ranks in People, Planet and Profit. Only then can city leaders act to assess their priorities, and the pathway to urban sustainability – for the good of all,” said John Batten, Global Cities Director at Arcadis, which produced the new urban index.

For more information about the Sustainable Cities Index, visit

Chicago Hosting Conference For Greener Airports

Sustainability Initiatives Transforming Air Transportation

The Chicago Department of Aviation (CDA), in partnership with the American Association of Airport Executives (AAAE), is pleased to announce its 8th Annual Airports Going Green Conference to be held October 26-28, 2015 at the Holiday Inn Chicago Mart Plaza River North in downtown Chicago.

sustainable airport strategy

The Airports Going Green Conference is the largest aviation sustainability forum, bringing together sustainability leaders, experts, and innovators from around the world.  More than 400 attendees from 11 different countries participated in last year’s Conference.  There were 30-plus airports represented, including small, medium, and large hub airports.

Airports Going Green creates an atmosphere that advances federal, regional, and educational partnerships. The Conference provides an opportunity to share best practices and lessons learned across the aviation industry with stakeholders in the U.S. and around the world including airports, the Federal Aviation Administration (FAA), airlines, concessions and tenants, consultants, construction managers, governmental agencies, and others.

The 2014 Conference featured more than 20 sessions, 70 speakers, 40 sponsors, 20 exhibitors, and 10 local businesses. Highlights included a “Sustainable Fabrics Fashion Show” featuring recycled airline seat fabric, the industry’s first and only “zero waste” conference, more than $38,000 donated to the Airports Going Green Sustainability Education Fund, a sustainable foods happy hour, the Airports Going Green Awards, and an electric vehicle test drive on future O’Hare Runway 10R-28L.

The CDA is also pleased to announce that United Airlines has agreed to be the Presenting Sponsor of the Conference. United is a longstanding sponsor and supporter of the Conference. Last year, United donated airline seat fabric used by the Fashion Studies Department at Columbia College Chicago to create fashion designs for the 2014 “Sustainable Fabrics Fashion Show.” United staff also participated on a panel describing their weather resiliency planning and future aviation sustainability considerations.

United Airlines’ Eco-Skies program affirms its commitment to operating sustainability. As a founding member of the Midwest Aviation Sustainable Biofuels Initiative (MASBI), United is continually working to support aviation biofuels and to improve aircraft fuel efficiency. For its efforts in this area, the airline received the World Bio Markets Award for Excellence in Advanced Biofuels on March 2, 2015.  It was also awarded the Global Business Travel Association Foundation’s Sustainability Outstanding Achievement Award in 2014; was named Air Transport World magazine’s Eco-Aviation Airline of the Year Gold Winner in 2013; and was awarded an Airports Going Green Award in 2011.

Visit for more information.

Resilient Cities Announced by Rockefeller Foundation

Resilient Cities Centennial Challenge

Today, we are excited to name the first group of cities selected through the Rockefeller Foundation’s 100 Resilient Cities Centennial Challenge – cities who have demonstrated a dedicated commitment to building their own capacities to prepare for, withstand, and bounce back rapidly from shocks and stresses.

resilient cities
Resilient cities honored by Rockefeller Foundation.

Since we announced the challenge on our 100th birthday, May 14, 2013, the response has been enormous, with more than 1,000 registrations and nearly 400 formal applications from cities around the world. Each city was asked to present a clear and compelling description of how they are approaching and planning for resilience to decrease vulnerabilities, and after careful review of the applications, a panel of esteemed judges, including former presidents Bill Clinton and Olosegun Obasanjo, recommended the first set of 33 cities for the 100 Resilient Cities Network.

It wasn’t easy to choose only 33 – we had so many passionate, vibrant entries. Among the winners: One of the oldest continuously inhabited cities in the world wrote of the city’s history withstanding shocks for the past eight millennia. One African city wrote of a resilience plan as harmonizing climate change adaptation, biodiversity, planning and management and water security. And a city in South America finds itself dealing with landslides and forest fires, all while sitting in the shadow of a volcano.


Dakar (Senegal)
Durban (South Africa)


Medellín (Colombia)
Mexico City (Mexico)
Porto-Alegre (Brazil)
Quito (Ecuador)
Rio de Janeiro (Brazil)


Bristol (UK)
Glasgow (UK)
Rome (Italy)
Rotterdam (Netherlands)
Vejle (DK)


Ashkelon (Israel)
Byblos (Lebanon)
Ramallah (Palestine)


Alameda (CA)
Berkeley (CA)
Boulder (CO)
El Paso (TX)
Jacksonville (FL)
Los Angeles (CA)
New Orleans (LA)
New York City (NY)
Norfolk (VA)
Oakland (CA)
San Francisco (CA)


Christchurch (New Zealand)
Melbourne (Australia)


Surat (India)


Bangkok (Thailand)
Da Nang (Vietnam)
Mandalay (Myanmar)
Semarang (Indonesia)

Cities selected for the Network will receive four kinds of support:

The support to hire and empower a Chief Resilience Officer, a central point of contact within each city to coordinate and oversee the resilience activities, coordinate stakeholders, and ensure resilience is a city-wide priority.

The support for that Chief Resilience Officer to develop a resilience plan, which will take stock of existing efforts, identify priority areas of needs, conduct analysis to understand the interconnected risks and opportunities, and develop a clear and actionable set of priorities and initiatives.

Access to a platform of services to support the implementation of such a strategy, which may include solutions to spur investments and financing for resilient infrastructure, information technology tools, and policy models for resilience-enabling laws and regulations.

Connection to other Network members, to share what works, spotlight success, and advance both global and regional dialogues on urban resilience.


Energy Prize Awards Scheduled For January 2014

Zayed Future Energy Prize, the world’s leading award for innovation in renewable energy and sustainability, presented a workshop in Sweden this week. The seminar took place on the sidelines of the Global Sustainable Cities Network (GSCN) meetings in Stockholm this week.

sustainable cityDr Nawal Al-Hosany, Director of the Zayed Future Energy Prize, led the discussion with representatives of 10 Swedish cleantech companies on the role and importance of SMEs in the renewable energy sector. Highlighting the Prize’s capacity to catalyze and fund innovation and growth in clean energy and sustainability practices, Dr Al-Hosany offered a virtual walk-through of the submission process for the Prize.”SMEs play a critical role in the cleantech sector. In most countries, SMEs represent a majority of the industry and are significant drivers of energy innovation and contributors to overall economic growth through employment,” said Dr Sultan Ahmed Al Jaber, Director General of the Zayed Future Energy Prize. However, the funds involved in research and development of new technology could constrain SMEs. Here, the Prize plays a key role in recognizing and funding companies that are engaged in developing the solutions for energy access and addressing climate change.

“Our previous winners have witnessed the transformational effect of the Prize. We would like to encourage SMEs in Europe and across the world to join forces with us and participate in the Prize,” continued Dr Al Jaber.

“The Prize underscores the commitment by the leadership of the UAE to finding the solutions needed to solve the energy challenge. Inspired by the legacy of our founding father, Sheikh Zayed bin Sultan Al Nahyan, the Prize has the power to bring together and catalyze participants from all over the world – corporations, individuals and schools – for a common cause,” added Dr Al Jaber.

Previous winners of the Prize from Europe include Vestas, Denmark (Large Corporation, 2011); Schneider Electric, France (Large Corporation 2012); Carbon Disclosure Project, United Kingdom (SME 2012); Siemens, Germany (Large Corporation 2013); and the Okehampton School, United Kingdom (Global High Schools 2013).

In her capacity as Director of Sustainability at Masdar, Dr Al-Hosany also participated in a roundtable at the Global Sustainable Cities Network (GSCN) meeting. A component of the United Nation’s Clean Energy Ministerial, the GSCN seeks to provide an open knowledge-sharing platform for groundbreaking sustainable city initiatives throughout the world. Masdar City, the UAE‘s emerging clean-tech cluster and test-bed for renewable energy and sustainable technologies is the Secretariat to the GSCN. Current members of the Network include the UAE, China, Finland, Sweden and Denmark.

The Zayed Future Energy Prize is a $4m annual fund awarded to companies, schools and individuals that have made significant contributions to the future of energy, sustainability and climate change. In five years, the Prize has recognized 21 innovators and impacted communities worldwide.

Submissions for the sixth edition of the Prize will close on 5 August, 2013. Winners will be announced at the Zayed Future Energy Prize awards ceremony scheduled for 20 January, 2014 as part of the annual Abu Dhabi Sustainability Week.

Australia Accepting Applications For Most Sustainable Cities

Deadline Extended For Sustainability Award

Participants now have until June 24th to prepare their submissions for the 2013 Keep Australia Beautiful NSW Sustainable Cities Awards Program. To complete an entry and submission, please visit the awards categories page.

Penrith City Council is the current title holder of the Sustainable Cities Overall Council Winner for NSW. The Council’s ‘Sustainable Penrith – Working Towards a Sustainable City’ plan saw the council recycle over 22,000kL of water, reduce landfill waste by 5,500 tonnes and compost 32,000 tonnes of food and garden organic waste. To hear more about Penrith and why they won and how the Sustainable Cities Awards Program can benefit your organization view the ‘2012 Sustainable Cities Overall Winner – Penrith’ YouTube video.

Since 1994, the Keep Australia Beautiful NSW Sustainable Cities Awards Program has celebrated environmental initiatives delivered by local government authorities, schools, business, community groups, and individuals. The awards inspire communities to make lasting contributions to their local area and form partnerships to enhance the environment around them. In addition to Penrith City Council overall win last year, other projects as diverse as Sydney Theater Company’s water conservation program, Robert Townson High School’s student based environmental/sustainability team, and OzHarvest were recognized. A full list of winners is available on our 2012 Sustainable Cities page.

Each year Keep Australia Beautiful NSW is looking for the most innovative environmental and sustainability projects that address challenges, improve the standard of living and quality of life, and promote education and partnerships in metropolitan areas.

Entries are still open and FREE in all categories.

• Sydney Water Overall Sustainable Council Award
• Sydney Water Sustainable Water Award
• Office of Environment and Heritage Environmental Education Award
• Heritage Council of NSW Heritage Award
• Sustainable Waste Management Award
• Sustainable Youth Award
• Sustainable Business Award (NEW)
• Biodiversity Conservation Award
• Sustainable Garden Award

To assist with your submissions Keep Australia Beautiful NSW will be offering a workshop at the NSW Teachers Federation at 23-33 Mary Street in Surry Hills on 3 June from 2.00pm-3.30pm. The 2013 Sustainable Cities workshop is for any organisation or individual that would like more information about Keep Australia Beautiful NSW and the Sustainable Cities Awards Program.

The workshop will review who we are, what programs we run, changes to the 2013 Sustainable Cities Program, how to enter, the judging process, key dates, examples of previous winners, and more. If  you are considering participating this year or in the future, or if you would just like to find about more about the organization and how you can get involved, this workshop is for you! Please RSVP for this as soon as possible as space is limited to

If you are unable to attend the workshop, you have another opportunity to get more information about the program. We are running a live webinar on June 4th at 11 am, detailing the same information as above, and you will be able to view a non-live version on our website as of 6 June as well. Please RSVP and register for the webinar here.

The 2013 Sustainable Cities Awards Program will culminate at an awards ceremony on Friday, July 26th hosted by 2012 Overall Sustainable Council winner, Penrith City Council, at Mamre House in St. Marys. Mamre House will be providing sustainable event management throughout all aspects of the evening and some examples are below:

  • All foods and drinks will be sourced locally
  • All recyclable packaging will be recycled and all organic waste will be composted on site
  • Gifts for guests to take home are made from produce grown on-site, picked, prepared and bottled by participants in the Mamre Refugee social enterprise program and Mamre Disability Services
  • Centerpieces for the tables are being made by participants in the Mamre Farm Program and also Mamre Disability Services
  • Green Energy has been sourced for this event
  •  Water on the tables will be bottled in recyclable Sydney Water glass bottles
  • The “green carpet” has been maintained using recycled organic compost

The event will start with a tour focusing on some of the successful sustainable initiatives that Penrith City Council has recently implemented. Details of the event and tour are below:

The Movement Toward Sustainable Cities In U.S.

Over the past decade, more than 50 major U.S cities have taken significant steps to become more sustainable. According to reports, there has been a focused effort to maintain and grow healthy local economies through smart growth and climate protection, and city leaders are increasingly doing business in a manner that promotes, guides and manages growth. They’re improving energy efficiency, helping the environment and raising the quality of life for residents.


For example, the following cities are making admirable strides toward sustainability:

Portland, Oregon

Half of Portland’s energy comes from renewable resources, enabling it to replace dirty energy resources with clean energy. Portland created the Clean Energy Works initiative, a program designed to give homeowners free energy assessments and provide $2,000 rebates and loans for home retrofitting.

A curbside composting program was launched in 2011 that resulted in a 38 percent dropin the city’s trash output, city officials reported. Portland is also considered the most bikeable city in the United States, with 200 miles of dedicated bike lanes. This, of course, minimizes dependency on gas-powered vehicles and helps reduce the output of toxins and pollutants.

Cambridge, Massachusetts

Cambridge implemented a major climate protection plan in 2002, and currently a majority of city vehicles are powered by B20 biodiesel or electricity. Named the “best walking city” by Prevention Magazine in 2008, all new construction and major renovation must meet LEED standards. Cambridge also created a project called “Compost That Stuff,’ in which organic waste from residents, hotels and restaurants is collected for compost. Forward-thinking Cambridge also provides its residents with free Wi-Fi via the Cambridge Public Internet project, enabling users of mobile devices like the 16GB Nexus 4 phone to surf the Web quickly and conveniently.

San Francisco, California

San Francisco created mandatory recycling and composting ordinances that required citizens to not only separate recyclables, but also to separate their packing items and compostable food. City officials announced in October 2012 that 80 percent of its city waste was going to recycling and composting facilities, making it the leader in sustainable waste disposal. San Francisco was the nation’s first city to ban plastic grocery bags, and in 2010 Mayor Gavin Newsom declared the city America’s leader in solar energy use.

Eugene, Oregon

Eugene receives 88 percent of its energy from renewable sources, and the city’s Sustainability Commission oversees green infrastructure and development. The city’s Wayne L. Morse Courthouse made it onto the American Institute of Architects’ list of the top 10 green buildings in the U.S., and the city’s public transit system was nominated for an International Sustainability award for being one of the first diesel-electric hybrid systems to operate in the nation. Cycling is the preferred mode of transportation in Eugene, made possible by 150 miles of smog-free travel throughout the main metro area.

Oakland, California

Oakland receives 17 percent of its energy from renewable resources, and there’s a plan in place to have zero waste and become oil-independent by the year 2020. The city boasts a hydrogen-powered public transit system, the cleanest tap water in the country and a plethora of farmers markets that offer locally sourced, organic food. It’s also home to the nation’s oldest wildlife refuge.

Seattle, Washington

Seattle was the first city in America to have a major utility company go carbon neutral. City Light uses hydroelectric dams, which reduce dependency on dirty energy resources. Seattle pledged not to invest its money into fossil fuel companies, a positive green action effort. Twenty percent of Seattle’s buildings are LEED-certified or under construction for LEED certification, and residents are encouraged through an incentive program to install solar panels on their homes.

Boston, Massachusetts

Boston’s “Green By 2015” initiative includes replacing taxicabs with hybrid vehicles and recycling trash to power homes. The city has pledged to increase its use of solar panels and support use of electric motor bikes. Boston holds regular conferences to educate citizens on living the most sustainable life possible.


Vancouver Aims To Be Greenest City By 2020

Sustainable Vancouver

To become the greenest city in the world, Vancouver’s City staff are working with Council, residents, businesses, other organizations, and all levels of government to implement the Greenest City 2020 Action Plan. The Action Plan is divided into 10 smaller plans, each with a long-term goal and 2020 targets. Combined, these 10 plans address three broad categories:

  • Carbon emissions
  • Waste minimization and management
  • Ecosystem protection and management


While these goals will take time and effort to reach, they are realistic and achievable, and the city is committed to reporting its progress on an ongoing basis. The distinguished Earth Hour City Challenge jury recognized the City of Vancouver as the international champion. The city challenge, created by World Wildlife Fund (WWF), celebrates cities that are taking amazing steps towards a 100% renewable future. The City also joined millions in celebrating WWF’s Earth Hour on March 23, 2013.

The City of Vancouver also has been recognized as one of Canada’s Greenest Employers for the second year in a row by the editors of Canada’s Top 100 Employers. This award honors organizations with a culture of environmental awareness, where thinking green guides how they operate today and plan for tomorrow.

In addition, making small Vancouver businesses more energy efficient has been a priority. Holding bike skills courses for low-income individuals. Creating a sustainable, community-supported fishery for Vancouver. These are just a few of the 150 projects supported in the first year of the Greenest City Fund.

After two years of extensive consultation, and with the engagement of over 18,000 citizens, Vancouver City Council voted to approve the new Transportation 2040 plan, an ambitious and balanced framework for Vancouver’s transportation future.

Council approved Vancouver’s Food Strategy, which builds upon years of work the City has done together with the Vancouver Food Policy Council. This strategy will help Vancouver integrate the full spectrum of urban food system issues within a single policy framework that includes urban agriculture, food processing, distribution, access and food waste management.

Presidential Innovation Award for Environmental Educators Given to 11 US Teachers

The White House Council on Environmental Quality, in partnership with the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA), has announced the winners of the 2013 Presidential Innovation Award for Environmental Educators. Eleven teachers from around the country are being recognized for their exceptional work as leaders in the field of environmental education in formal school settings. Award recipients and their local education agencies will receive commemorative certificates and monetary awards to help support and encourage their use of environmental education in their classrooms and schools.

obama images-1

“The men and woman who are receiving this prestigious award have taken innovative steps to educate students about environmental stewardship and civic responsibility, and their work is a critical part of creating a cleaner, healthier and more sustainable future,” said EPA Acting Administrator Bob Perciasepe. “Thanks to their creative approaches to environmental education, students are developing a greater connection to the world around them – a skill that will benefit young people throughout their careers as they pursue the green jobs of the 21st century. At EPA, we are grateful to know that such exceptional educators are in American classrooms today.”

The Presidential Innovation Award for Environmental Educators recognizes outstanding K-12 teachers and their local education agencies across the United States for excellence in integrating environmental education into their lessons and connecting students with their communities and the natural world.

This program recognizes and supports teachers from both rural and urban education settings who make use of experiential and environmental opportunities that utilize creativity and community engagement to help students develop a sense of civic responsibility and stewardship in ecosystems. This year’s winning teachers’ programs range from students’ participation in watershed stewardship and civic engagement in Virginia, to creating recycling programs for an entire school in Kansas, to land stewardship practices in Idaho. Many teachers have inspired and empowered their students to create spaces for “green” clubs and special environmental science projects that include whole communities and businesses that help to create learning opportunities that students may otherwise not experience. These teachers demonstrate exceptional skill integrating learning outside their classrooms and making use of real-world issues to help students connect with, and participate in the world around them.


“This award recognizes the outstanding educators in our classrooms who are taking innovative approaches to helping students understand the impact they can have on our physical world,” said Nancy Sutley, Chair of the Council on Environmental Quality. “The teachers who have earned this award are inspiring our nation’s future leaders to be responsible stewards of our environment, and preparing them to excel in the 21st century economy.”
Recipients of the Presidential Innovation Award for Environmental Educators include:

•    Mary Marguerite Murphy,  Camden Hills Regional High School, Rockport, Maine
•    Mary Breslin, George Washington Middle School, Alexandria, Va.
•    Carolyn Ruos Thomas, Wildwood Middle School, Shenandoah Junction, W. Va.
•    Jeanna Burroughs Goodson, Maiden High School, Maiden, N. C.
•    Mary Catherine Padgett, Ford Elementary School, Acworth, Ga.
•    Anne Wiszowaty, North Shore Community School, Duluth, Minn.
•    Mike Todd, Ames High School, Ames, Iowa
•    Dominick S. DeRosa, F.L.Schlagle High School, Kansas City, Kan.
•    Dominique Evans-Bye, Clark Magnet High School, La Crescenta, Calif.
•    Ralph Harrison, Science and Math Institute, Tacoma, Wash.
•    Lindsey Hoffman-Truxel, Barbara Morgan Elementary, McCall, Idaho
More information about the winners and this program:

C40 & Siemens Announce Broad Collaboration on Cities and Sustainability

The C40 Cities Climate Leadership Group (C40) and Siemens today announced a new collaboration, both a technical partnership and a global prize competition to recognize city actions and innovation that will accelerate C40 city actions to combat the impacts of global climate change.

cropped-city2.jpg“Cities around the world — particularly C40 cities — are leading the way in taking meaningful actions to protect the planet and grow our economies in sustainable ways,” said C40 Chair, New York City Mayor Michael R. Bloomberg. “Forming a partnership with Siemens and tapping into their knowledge and expertise will improve our ability to measure the results of our initiatives, advance the most effective policies, and build on the great work already underway in C40 cities. With this upgraded data collection, we will be able to ensure that we are making significant progress in tackling global climate change.”

The C40 and Siemens technical partnership is designed to help cities measure, plan, and mitigate their greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions. The GHG Measurement & Planning Initiative will convene C40 cities to facilitate the exchange of ideas and expertise and will deploy technical assistance and local capacity building in C40 cities looking to develop greenhouse gas inventories and comprehensive city climate action plans. Additionally, a newly created C40 & Siemens City Climate Leadership Award will annually provide recognition for cities that are demonstrating climate action leadership.

“We are happy and honored to partner with C40 in a joint approach to fight climate change. Siemens will provide its vast knowledge and experience with energy efficient and sustainable urban infrastructures. We will leverage the Siemens expertise from our urban experts in cities around the world and our Center of Competence Cities together with our partner C40,” said Roland Busch, CEO of Siemens Infrastructures & Cities Sector.

The Initiative will provide an additional platform for cities to share expertise and build upon the technical assistance and resources already developed by C40 and Siemens. In addition, the Initiative will support joint problem solving by peer cities that are currently working to develop inventories and climate action plans and can benefit from shared approaches to data collection, analysis, and strategic planning.

The C40 & Siemens City Climate Leadership Award will be granted annually in ten categories and will provide global recognition for C40 cities that are demonstrating climate action leadership. Six award categories, including urban transportation, green energy, and sustainable communities, are open to C40 cities only. Four other categories, including resilience, air quality and optimized city infrastructure, are open to C40 cities, and the 120 cities in the Siemens and Economist Intelligence Unit research project ‘Green City Index’ (GCI). The first Award ceremony will be held in September 2013 in the Crystal, Siemens’ Urban Sustainability Center in London.

The Siemens Infrastructure & Cities Sector (Munich, Germany), with approximately 90,000 employees, focuses on sustainable technologies for metropolitan areas and their infrastructures. Its offering includes products, systems and solutions for intelligent traffic management, rail-bound transportation, smart grids, power distribution, energy efficient buildings, and safety and security. The Sector comprises the divisions Building Technologies, Low and Medium Voltage, Mobility and Logistics, Rail Systems and Smart Grid. For more information, visit

C40 is a network of the world’s megacities taking action to reduce greenhouse gas emissions. With a unique set of assets, the C40 works with participating cities to address climate risks and impacts locally and globally. The network C40 was created in 2005 by former Mayor of London Ken Livingstone, and forged a partnership in 2006 with the Cities Program of President Clinton’s Climate Initiative (CCI) to reduce carbon emissions and increase energy efficiency in large cities across the world. The current chair of C40 is New York City Mayor Michael R. Bloomberg.

The Earth Hour City Challenge: Cities Leading The Way Towards Sustainable Future

On the eve of Earth Hour, taking place this Saturday 23 March, WWF this week announced the City of Vancouver in Canada as its Global Earth Hour City Challenge Capital 2013 at an award ceremony in Malmö, Sweden. The Earth Hour City Challenge is an initiative that takes Earth Hour beyond the symbolic gesture of switching off lights for one hour, encouraging concrete action on the ground to combat climate change.


The City Challenge is designed to identify and reward cities that are prepared to become leaders in the global transformation towards a climate-friendly, one planet economy. Working in collaboration with the leading association of cities and local governments dedicated to sustainable development, ICLEI – Local Governments for Sustainability, WWF worked across six countries (Canada, India, Italy, Norway, Sweden and USA), from which a total of 76 cities registered for the City Challenge.

Candidate status was granted to 66 cities that demonstrated their commitment to action on climate change by reporting their emissions and energy reduction targets, past performance, completed or ongoing actions to reduce emissions and energy use, and climate action plans. Altogether, these cities reported over 1,000 mitigation actions, of which a substantial number were aimed at increasing the use of renewable energy and moving away from fossil-fuel based activities.

A select international jury judged Vancouver as the city that had most strongly demonstrated that it was prepared to implement holistic, inspiring and credible plans for low-carbon development and for substantially increasing use of sustainable, efficient and renewable energy solutions within the next few decades.

The jury also chose five other national Earth Hour City Challenge capitals – with New Delhi in India, Forlì in Italy, Oslo in Norway, Uppsala in Sweden and San Francisco in the United States all winning their respective country awards. All of these cities demonstrated a considerable level of ambition and commitment along with impressive actions which provide an important and powerful source of inspiration to other cities and people around the world.

Overall, the jury’s choice of global and national capitals largely reflects the depth of city actions, many of which involved reaching out to citizens and other stakeholders to support low-carbon strategies. One of many strong examples of this from Vancouver is its pioneering Neighborhood Energy Strategy. The strategy targets areas of the city with the greatest potential to reduce carbon emissions. Through engagement with these communities, the city is developing Neighborhood Energy Systems which will reduce greenhouse gas emissions in these neighborhoods by up to 70% by 2020.

Oslo’s involvement in FutureBuilt, a collaborative effort involving a number of central government agencies and various architecture and construction companies, is another case in point. The 10-year programme, running until 2020, is aiming to complete 50 pilot projects with the lowest possible greenhouse gas emissions. FutureBuilt has a strong reputation for innovation, competence building and knowledge exchange.

San Francisco is also reaching out to local communities through its Business Council on Climate Change (BC3). The scheme involves the city partnering with local businesses to reduce emissions and help meet the city’s sustainability goals. BC3 members commit to taking specific actions to reduce their emissions while the municipality has helped them by facilitating the use of electric vehicles and promoting projects such as its green tenant toolkit which is designed to enhance landlord-tenant engagement on sustainability.

These examples and many others from the top 17 shortlisted cities can be found through the Earth Hour City Challenge’s People’s Choice campaign website. The website was designed to generate wider public interest and excitement about sustainability actions in cities by giving the public a chance to vote via social media for their favorite finalist city for the People’s Choice award. Many cities have attracted positive responses reflecting a wide public enthusiasm and encouragement for cities across the globe to take significant action to accelerate the global transition to a truly renewable future. For example, the ambitious measures taken by New Delhi to overhaul its mass transit system have received extremely positive online responses.

WWF is now looking to further expand the City Challenge for next year and will invite cities from an additional six countries – Brazil, Belgium, Denmark, Finland, Indonesia and South Korea – to join the next round of the Earth Hour City Challenge, which will start already this April. A key theme for next year’s challenge will be how cities are investing in renewable energy and divesting from fossil fuels.

Globally, $350 trillion dollars is expected to be spent on urban infrastructure investment and use over the next three decades. These investments can either lock us into a fossil-fuel dependent future – or help drive a global transition towards a sustainable, climate safe future. The expansion of the City Challenge reflects an urgency to encourage cities to follow the great examples described above and become global solution hotspots for a climate friendly and sustainable future.

Overall, the Earth Hour City Challenge demonstrates that cities across the globe are at the forefront of efforts to meet the global climate challenge. Cites have strong potential to work with their citizens and other stakeholders to drive the transition to a more sustainable future. WWF believes that highlighting strong city actions can also place further pressure for determined action at national and global levels, which will be pivotal in deciding whether humanity can stave off catastrophic climate change and secure its long-term wellbeing.

Earth Hour City Challenge Jury

  • Gino van Begin, Secretary General of ICLEI
  • Martha Delgado, General Director of the Secretariat of the Global Cities Covenant on Climate – the Mexico City Pact
  • Christiana Figueres, UNFCCC Executive Secretary
  • Dan Hoornweg, Professor and Jeff Boyce Research Chair, University of Ontario Institute of Technology
  • Simon Giles, Senior Principal Intelligent Cities, Accenture Global, Accenture
  • Pietro Laureano, architect and urban planner, UNESCO consultant
  • Conor Riffle, Head of CDP Cities
  • Amanda Eichel, Director of Initiatives and City Support, C40 Cities Climate Leadership Group