Cities see economic potential in partnering with businesses on climate action

Cities around the world believe the emergence of the low-carbon economy presents significant economic opportunity to collaborate with businesses, develop new industry sectors and build resilience, according to a new report published today by C40 partners CDP and AECOM.

This year, 533 cities shared climate-related data with CDP and identified more than 1,000 economic opportunities linked to climate change, including 299 cities that are looking to develop new business industries like clean tech. The findings of the annual report, sponsored by Bloomberg Philanthropies, examine the emerging business case for city governments to collaborate with companies, investors and regional governments on addressing climate change.

Key findings include:

  • Cities that collaborate with business are more likely to have emissions reduction targets. Of the 190 cities with a GHG emissions reduction target, 74% are working with business; 
  • The development of new businesses and industries was the most commonly cited economic opportunity by cities this year; and 
  • The top three climate-related project areas that cities are seeking private sector collaboration on are: energy efficiency/retrofits, renewable energy and transport.  

Partnering with the private sector will be a crucial step for cities to be able to achieve the ambitious goals of the Paris Agreement. Seth Schultz, C40 Director of Research, Measurement & Planning contributed to the report, where he highlighted the importance of collaboration between cities and the private sector:

“Here at C40 Cities Climate Leadership Group, research has highlighted that 75% of the challenges preventing future climate action in our cities, cannot be resolved unilaterally by the city. Rather, only through collaboration with partners in the private sector, national government, civil society and others can we unleash the vast potential for action in our cities.”

C40 is currently developing models for effective partnerships between cities and the private sector through the C40 Finance Facility and the Financing Sustainable Cities Initiative, a joint project with WRI Ross Center for Sustainable Cities and Citi Foundation.