C40 Programmes

Programmes, Business & Innovation

Green Economy & Innovation Forum

C40 cities are centres of economic growth and innovation, accounting for more than 25 percent of global GDP. Economic development and job creation are major concerns and drivers of decision-making in every city, yet climate action has not always been regarded as a way to achieve these economic aims. This forum provides in-person and online opportunities for city officials to share knowledge on how city-led climate action is making economic and social benefits a reality, and also engaging business support.

To reach the Paris Agreement’s aspiration of keeping global warming below 1.5 degrees, rapid scaling of innovation is needed to transition towards a low-carbon economy and requires different approaches to traditional economics, city strategies and implementation methods, including city procurement. This forum therefore enables participants to explore and challenge the latest economic thinking, municipal policies and practices for sustainable development.

Key focus areas of this forum:

1.    What is and how can we shift cities to a ‘Green Economy’? 

The United Nations Environment Programme defines a ‘Green Economy’ as: “one that results in improved human well-being and social equity, while significantly reducing environmental risks and ecological scarcities. In its simplest expression, a green economy can be thought of as one which is low carbon, resource efficient and socially inclusive.”

Municipal strategies to achieve a green economy are shared and range from the clean technology, climate action and circular economy strategies, to the city’s economic development plan.

2.    How can cities measure progress towards a green city economy?

Worksteams include: methods for measuring creation of ‘green jobs’ and implementing alternative measures of success for sustainable development that overcome the weaknesses of GDP.

3.    How can we accelerate innovation for zero carbon cities?

With emphasis on how cities can successfully support start-ups and the wider innovation ecosystem to progress low carbon solutions.  

4.    How can cities engage business support for zero carbon cities?

Exploring co-design initiatives, thought-leadership, various types of procurement and public-private partnerships.

Who should participate?

This Forum is best suited to city officials who advise or implement the city’s economic strategy and/or the sustainability strategy. It is also well suited to staff in city departments that work to support the businesses in their city. Whilst private workshop formats provide a safe space for city officials to share knowledge and strategies, parts of the annual forum event and some webinars are open for experts from the private sector to join.

For more information or to request to participate, contact Charlotte Breen at cbreen@c40.org.