Awards Categories

The C40 Cities Awards reward cities that have implemented outstanding projects, programmes, policies and practices to combat climate change and reduce climate risks in the fields of 10 categories. 

Climate Action Plans & Inventories

The Climate Action Plans & Inventories category presents comprehensive and far-reaching plans and actions taken by cities to lower their GHG Emissions and pursue long-term social, economic, and environmental agendas. These projects demonstrate the strategic role that greenhouse gas emissions reduction targets can have in cities’ overall green development strategies.

Adaptation Plans & Assessments

The projects in the Adaptation Plans & Assessments category showcase how targeted plans based on risk assessments can make cities more resilient and adaptable for future climate changes, such as extreme weather, sea level rise, and increased temperatures, while at the same time increasing recreational opportunities and providing significant social benefits to city residents.

Building Energy Efficiency

The Building Energy Efficiency category focuses on projects that reduce the energy consumption of municipal, commercial and residential buildings. Examples could include regulations for new or existing buildings, successful local implementation of national policies, data management programmes to drive down consumption, incentive schemes or financing, or behaviour change programmes.

Clean Energy

Clean Energy category projects push for a low-carbon transition in city energy systems by increasing the production of clean power and heating. Projects could be incentivising the uptake of renewable energy technologies, deploying district heating systems, or introducing green energy procurement strategies. In addition, projects could include successful collaboration on regulation with the national or regional government or utility.

Finance & Economic Development

The Finance & Economic Development category includes city projects that are re-thinking financing and ways to incentivize investments in low-carbon projects in order to achieve sustainable growth and economic development for all. At the same time, these projects demonstrate that climate change mitigation and adaptation can present a profitable business case for cities and investors.

Solid Waste

Projects in the Solid Waste category help cities reduce, reuse, and better manage material resources, by, for instance, diverting organics from landfill disposal, effectively managing waste collection and source segregation, reducing food waste. These projects prove the potential to reduce greenhouse gas emissions from city waste while providing co-benefits such as reduced air and soil pollution and fossil fuel consumption.

Adaptation in Action

The projects in the Adaptation in Action category showcase infrastructure and landscape development projects as well as regulations and incentive schemes that make communities more resilient and adaptable to current and future climate hazards.


The projects in the Transportation category showcase how flexible public transportation systems, ambitious electrification programs, and committed policies that prioritize people over cars can reduce greenhouse gas emissions, traffic congestion, air pollution, and make the future of urban transportation greener and more enjoyable.

Sustainable Communities

The projects in the Sustainable Communities category showcase ambitious sustainable, resilient, and low-carbon community projects. From neighborhood-scale regeneration to city-wide action, these projects are transforming neighborhoods and delivering compact, connected and coordinated districts and cities.

Social Equity & Climate Change 

The projects presented in this category comprise measures that focus on alleviating social injustices relating to climate change and its impacts. Understanding that poor and marginalised communities disproportionally bear the brunt of the effects of climate change and that climate action provides an opportunity to address inequality, these projects work to protect vulnerable citizens and engage all affected communities in the process of creating more just and sustainable cities. These projects will integrate equity considerations into climate action to maximise social, environmental and economic benefits or minimise climate risks for disadvantaged communities.

More information can be found on the Application Guide along with further details on the eligibility criteria and assessment criteria

For further information on the C40 Cities Awards, contact: awards at c40 dot org