Our commitment to equity, diversity and inclusion

C40 Cities is actively committed to being an equitable, diverse and inclusive organisation, not only in the way we recruit, manage and develop our international workforce, but also in the manner in which we work with C40’s nearly 100 member cities worldwide.

To succeed in our mission of helping the world limit global heating to 1.5°C and building healthy, equitable and resilient communities, we are working to deliver a future where everyone, everywhere, can thrive. This vision can only be achieved with a diverse workforce and an inclusive mission. If we can ensure our staff reflects the diversity, cultures and aspirations of the cities we represent, this will, in turn, help us reflect the needs of these diverse communities.

Leadership and staff engagement

C40 has established a Diversity, Inclusion and Anti-Racism Board to oversee the delivery of our Equity, Diversity and Inclusion (ED&I) strategy and action plan. The board is co-chaired by C40’s Executive Director, Mark Watts, and the Regional Director of East/Southeast Asia and Oceania, Milag San-Jose Ballesteros. Other members include C40’s Management Team and representative staff from teams across the organisation. 

C40 offers internal channels for staff to provide input to the board, including staff-led working groups and a staff consultation forum with local representatives from each C40 region. As we are continuously pushing ourselves to be leaders in equity, diversity and inclusion, we acknowledge that this is a journey that requires effort from each and every individual within the organisation to push the needle forward. We believe that this work must be at the core of everything we do.

Our strategy and action plan

The main objectives of C40’s ED&I strategy and action plan centre on C40’s workforce and work culture, external engagement and alignment with C40’s overarching mission. The objectives are monitored against key performance indicators and subject to review and further development on a yearly basis. The criteria for each objective are outlined below.

#Together4Climate in Paris 2017
  • Develop a workforce that reflects the diverse communities of the global cities that we work with, striving towards a balanced representation of staff across all protected characteristics and cities within the Global North and Global South.
  • Build an organisational culture that is equitable, diverse and inclusive in all of its work, embedding equity, diversity and inclusion considerations into all strands of C40’s planning and mission, and committing all staff to their shared responsibility for progression.
  • Promote diversity, value difference and ensure C40 employees from all backgrounds have equal opportunity to thrive and succeed, with diverse managers and staff creating an inclusive culture by promoting a safe space for all, learning from one another through sharing stories and reflection, and making adjustments to accommodate needs.
  • Share our equity, diversity and inclusion principles with the cities, organisations and companies that C40 works with, to stimulate discussion and influence our stakeholders to embed these principles within their practices.
  • Commit to organise and participate in diverse and inclusive events only, where events or panels that C40 hosts or attends include balanced and diverse representation from different backgrounds, gender expressions and regions of the world.
  • Embed diversity and inclusion as a due diligence guideline when making decisions on who we work with, such that equity, diversity and inclusion commitments, policies and statements of all new major suppliers, funders and partners are subject to review.
Youth climate leaders protest at C40 World Mayors Summit 2019
  • Centre all our work on the principles of climate justice and inclusive climate action by mainstreaming C40’s inclusive climate action programme throughout the organisation’s work. Our diplomacy and communications will prioritise seeking justice for the Global South and all underserved and marginalised communities — those who have contributed the least to the climate crisis, but are hardest hit by its consequences.
  • Provide all member cities with a service tailored to their needs, as reflected in the regional approach adopted in our 2021–24 Business Plan, so that C40 responds to our member cities’ diverse needs through the concept of common but differentiated responsibilities. C40 has committed to the development of the Regional Business Plans to further contextualise our delivery of the global priorities that would be most productive for our members. We aim to continue working proactively and flexibly to address emerging issues and challenges in C40 member cities, as was the case during the early stages of the COVID-19 pandemic.
  • Deliver proportionate exposure in external media and communications for all C40 member cities, with a specific focus on elevating Global South mayoral voices and narratives, while leveraging existing partnerships and continuing current initiatives for Global North cities. Communications will also be provided in various relevant languages to engage cities, stakeholders and communities more widely.

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