Benefits Research Programme

Unlocking Climate Action

In order to meet the challenges posed by global warming, cities need to take bold action at large scale. C40 supports cities in making the case for climate action by harnessing the wider benefits on health, equity, economy and security – in areas such as energy, transport, building, urban planning and adaptation. From green jobs and growth, to active and happier lives with cleaner air and water, climate actions have an immediate and tangible impact on people’s lives.


Sectoral workstreams

Air Quality

Building on two years of work funded by Johnson & Johnson Services, Inc. and conducted in collaboration with BuroHappold, C40 benefits research has identified a set of priority actions that cities can take to tackle climate change and air pollution simultaneously, placing the transport, buildings and industry sectors at the top of the list. The research shows that if C40’s 96-member cities take the ambitious actions outlined to achieve clean transport, buildings and industry, in combination with a decarbonised grid, the resulting benefits would include: an 87% reduction in Greenhouse Gas emissions, a 49% reduction in PM2.5 levels, 223,000 premature deaths averted and up to $583 billion in economic benefit.

Resources (report): 


Vehicles Electrification - Case Studies

  • Bangalore - Electrification of the Bus Fleet Technical Assistance Report 2020
  • Jakarta - Electrification of the Bus Fleet Technical Assistance Report 2020
  • Medellin - Electrification of the Bus Fleet: Technical Assistance Report 2020 (English / Spanish)
  • Rio de Janeiro - Electrification of the Bus Fleet: Technical Assistance Report 2020 (English / Portuguese(Update from the 2019 report)
  • Toronto - Electrification of the Bus Fleet: Technical Assistance Report (soon)
  • Toronto - Electrification of the Passenger Cars: Technical Assistance Report (soon)
  • Chennai - Electrifying the Growing Bus Fleet: Technical Assistance Report 2018
  • Quito - Upgrading the Municipal Bus Fleet from Diesel to Electric: Technical Assistance Report 2018 (English / Spanish)
  • Ho Chi Minh City - Upgrading the Bus Fleet from Diesel to CNG / Promoting the Uptake of E-bikes: Technical Assistance Report 2018
  • Salvador - Upgrading the Municipal Bus Fleet: Technical Assistance Report 2017


Low emission zone and vehicle standards - Case studies


Building and industrial emissions

Methodology Downloadable here



Heat Resilient Cities: Measuring benefits of urban heat adaptation

The impact of extreme temperatures on health and wellbeing is rising up policy agendas in many cities. The Excel-based Heat Resilient Cities benefits tool has been designed to help city planners and decision-makers to quantify the health, economic and environmental benefits of common urban heat adaptation actions. Cities can use this information to make the case for urban heat adaptation investments and to prioritise the actions that are likely to have the most positive impact locally. 

Users will be able to calculate the benefits brought by specific parks and green infrastructure, water bodies such as rivers and lakes, and cool and vegetative surfaces. The tool can also extrapolate results from these specific investments to calculate the benefits of scaling-up across the whole of the city. Learn more about the tool here.

For more information contact Snigdha Garg or Neuni Farhad

Building Retrofits

How many lives will an individual climate action save? How many new jobs will a building retrofit project result in? How will an improved building standard affect urban residents’ health, well-being and productivity? As the construction sector transitions towards zero carbon buildings, knowing the impact of those climate actions on health and the economy is critical to making better policy choices, and for convincing a wide range of urban stakeholders that the high upfront cost of retrofitting buildings is worthwhile.

To support cities in this process, this report introduces a methodology and toolkit to enable cities to quantify the benefits from deep retrofit projects, and presents results from three cities which piloted it to estimate the benefits from their programmes. The tool was developed by C40 Cities with technical input from BuroHappold and University College London, and funding from the ROCKWOOL Group. 

Resources (report): 

  • Multiple Benefits of Building Retrofits Report (English / Chinese)
  • Case Studies: New York City Schools, Copenhagen Schools and Milan residential buildings (English / Chinese)

Resources (tool):

  • C40 Multiple Benefits of Building Retrofits Tool (English / Chinese)
  • Methodology and Guidance booklet (English)
  • Frequently Asked Questions (English)


Walking and Cycling

The Benefits of Walking and Cycling research is built upon three years of forward-thinking work with Novo Nordisk, supporting 18 C40 cities to provide the evidence base for the health, economic and climate benefits of walking and cycling. Working with the C40 Walking & Cycling Network, we are translating the outcomes from our leading research into a cutting edge, easy-to-use tool, to empower cities to measure the benefits in their own cities, along with additional resources and case studies to provide additional context to this work.


Case Studies


Piloting a Global Approach to Benefits Measurement

This report presents initial findings from piloting a global approach to benefits measurement. C40, in partnership with Novo Nordisk and Ramboll, undertook ground breaking research to develop and test a standard approach to measuring the benefits of climate action.