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24 Apr 2023

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Index Cites Six Cities Worldwide for Sustainability Progress

Excerpt posted with permission from ESG Impact Zone. Full article is also available.

The Corporate Knights Sustainable Cities Index examines 70 cities in several aspects of sustainability. Six cities that stand out in particular areas include:

Lowest Scope 1 emissions
The city of Stockholm is a global leader when it comes to cutting urban GHG emissions, largely thanks to its district energy heating system. As of 2019, Stockholm had cut its annual GHG emissions almost in half from 1990 levels. The city has high ambitions to be carbon neutral by 2030. By 2040, Stockholm aims to be completely fossil fuel–free.

Cleanest air
Winnipeg is the top city on our index for overall air quality thanks to annual average levels of particulate air pollution that are below the World Health Organization’s air quality target. However, an increase in wildfires in Manitoba is threatening the city’s air quality, particularly during the summer months.

Most sustainable transportation
Amsterdam is a sustainable transport haven: approximately 40% of all travel happens on bikes, 30% on foot. Since 2019, all trams, subway trains and many buses have been running on electricity, and more than 75% of the commercial canal boats are electric. Going the extra mile, the city is investing in shared electric car and scooter services.

Lowest water consumption
In recent decades, Copenhagen has made every drop of water count. Since the late 1980s, the city has successfully cut back on water use by increasing the fees residents pay for water and installing low-flow toilets and showerheads. In 1987, Copenhageners used an average of more than 170 litres per day. Today that figure is just below 100 litres, with plans to get to 90 by 2025.

Lowest consumption-based emissions
The Ivory Coast aims to be net-zero by 2030. Its capital city, Abidjan, is well on its way with the lowest consumption-based emissions of cities analyzed. However, this is likely due to a high level of poverty rather than a shift in policy or lifestyle – a reminder that many of the world’s developing countries have contributed least to the climate crisis.

Most resilient to climate change
Located in a fjord, Oslo is fairly well protected from bad weather, but that may change in decades to come, and the city wants to be ready. In 2015, municipal leaders set out to make their city resilient to the climate crisis. Key to that is improving its stormwater management and making sure that climate adaptation is embedded in its urban planning, among other strategies.

Graphic from Corporat Knights.

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