Cities and business come together in the search for solutions to urban sustainability challenges

C40, CLEAN and International Cleantech Network (ICN) have established the City Solutions Platform to provide a forum for engagement between innovative solutions‐focused businesses and megacities with complex challenges. The Platform specifically aims to accelerate the design and implementation of high quality sustainable solutions in cities through project focused engagement and partnerships.

“Cities play a vital role when taking actions on climate changes, and accordingly it certainly makes sense to reach out for dialog and cooperation with private companies, that can show concrete solutions to support sustainability.”

This is how Frank Jensen, Lord Mayor of Copenhagen and member of the C40 Steering Committee, phrases the background for launching the initiative City Solutions platform between C40, CLEAN, ICN and companies such as Danfoss, Ramboll, RTI, Hitachi and Grundfos. The initiative will be led by CLEAN, Denmark's leading green cluster organization and financed by Realdania and the participating businesses.

Launched at COP21
The initiative is launched at the COP21 side event: “Copenhagen and Vancouver‐Collaboration with the private sector for urban climate actions”, Saturday – December 5th, where Mr. Gregor Robertson, Mayor of Vancouver, and Lord Mayor of Copenhagen, Frank Jensen, will discuss the importance of city‐private sector collaboration.

“Cities have been at the forefront of global action to confront climate change, and partnerships with the private sector have been fundamental to the progress we’ve achieved together,” said Mayor Gregor Robertson.

"While climate change brings enormous challenges, cities and business leaders know that there are also unprecedented opportunities for job creation and growth as we make a transformational shift to a green, renewable economy”, Robertson says.

C40 member cities Copenhagen and Vancouver are supporting the launch of the City Solutions Platform as they have some of the most ambitious plans for climate actions – Copenhagen to be the first carbon neutral capital in 2025 and Vancouver to be the greenest city in the world by 2020.

Valuable dialog
With the world – and cities – facing challenges on resources, the initiative will start out defining relevant projects within relevant areas - such as water, energy and waste. Areas where the challenges are so complex, that single actors cannot reach solutions alone. “When we bring different companies together with cities with ambitions to make a difference and then work in a co‐creation process, we see new innovative solutions take form. We are looking forward to create a global platform where C40 cities can seek solutions to their challenges in partnership with both local companies and companies from all the clean tech clusters we have in ICN”, says Preben Birr‐Pedersen, CEO of CLEAN and Member of the Board of ICN.

The need for co‐creation between sectors has never been more present than at this crucial moment where the world urgently needs to address climate change. “It is therefore a perfect time to launch the City Solutions Platform, giving cities from all over the world an efficient space for developing tailor‐made clean‐tech solutions in close collaboration with businesses and research institutions. The City Solutions Platform will in addition enable cities to identify and better utilize existing clean solutions and technologies for the benefit of everyone”, says Jesper Nygård, CEO of Realdania.

Challenges on water is identified by the World Economic Forum as among the three most critical worldwide, where it is stated that water scarcity affects more than 40 per cent of the global population and is projected to rise. At the same time, more than 80 per cent of wastewater resulting from human activities is discharged into rivers or sea without any pollution removal. Here, private companies can play an active role. “We, as private companies needs to take active part in the dialog on how to address these challenges upfront. With this initiative, we can get even closer in the valuable dialog with cities on needs and solutions and accordingly speed up actions – for the benefit of society as well as for green growth”, says Kim Nøhr Skibsted, VP Communications & Public Affairs, Member of Group Management of Grundfos.