Mayors Voices: Lord Mayor of Copenhagen Frank Jensen on C40 Green Growth Network

Copenhagen to lead newly-launched C40 Green Growth Network

The global transition to a green economy is at the top of the international agenda. Taking a look at the negotiations leading up to the Rio +20 summit, there is a growing understanding that green growth is a key concept in the pursuit of a common sustainable and economically viable future.

I believe that cities play a crucial role in making this transition. Cities control significant environmental, economic and social assets. And in cities we are often able to decide on more ambitious green policies than our national governments.

It is my belief that the C40 constitutes the ideal platform for megacities of the world to demonstrate that cities are in fact the main engines in the global transition to a green economy.

Cities around the world are already using ambitious carbon reduction policies, intelligent public procurement and partnerships with businesses as a way to drive innovation and growth in the private sector.

And cities are beginning to observe the economic rationale in implementing smart, sustainable solutions. Taking the wider socio-economic effects of these solutions into account, the effects can go way beyond “green.”

An example from my own city: When we invest in cycling infrastructure in Copenhagen, we do more than just reduce carbon emissions and improve air quality. For every kilometer people in Copenhagen choose to bike instead of drive, the city saves around 8 US cents in terms of reduced congestion, accidents, noise and wear and tear on infrastructure. Not included in this number is the beneficial effect on local employment, exports in the growing bicycle-related industry or tourism.

I would therefore like to invite my esteemed colleagues, mayors of the C40 cities, to join the newly formed C40 Green Growth Network, which Copenhagen will be proud to lead in close co-operation with the C40. I have high expectations as to what this network should accomplish.

The purpose and aim of the Green Growth Network is to investigate how cities can work with businesses to attract investment and create jobs in order to meet our environmental targets. Together with the participating cities, we aim to identify the socio-economic benefits of sustainable policies and solutions to determine their economic rationale for cities.

I would encourage fellow C40 cities to join the network, where we will jointly explore a number of potential workstreams:

Develop a standard way of measuring and documenting the socio-economic benefits of municipal green policies and sustainable solutions.

  1. Identify options to promote and drive the market for green jobs.
  2. Work with clusters of green businesses or green enterprise districts.
  3. Explore ways to implement best practice green growth policies and solutions in network cities.

C40 and the City of Copenhagen will work with cities to support smaller groups focused on these workstreams, according to their specific interests and experience.

Participating cities will receive invitations to present preliminary findings and launch network projects in conjunction with the Global Green Growth Forum high level event in Copenhagen October 2012.

It is my hope that the network will serve as the inspiration for other C40 cities to create best practice policies, as well as form partnerships on transferring successful green growth solutions.