No one talks about idealism anymore; sustainability has become a business opportunity for cities. What are our chances? Lykke Leonardsen, head of strategy for climate change for Copenhagen, wrote for Stadsleven Green Business about Copenhagen as a front mover on green and sustainable solutions.
Nations talk, cities act
Cities are becoming the drivers of change for a more sustainable world to a larger extent than countries. There are many reasons for this.
It is in cities that people are directly feeling the impacts of climate change, pollution and the like. It is also in cities that we have a critical mass of citizens: that makes investments in green solutions much more finacially viable than in more sparsely populated areas. And finally the road from idea to action is much shorter in cities. That is why during the COP-negotiations (the UN Convention of Parties) city organisations like C40 coined the phrase “Nations talk, cities act”.
Because cities act, they also by now have a number of solutions that have already been tested on the ground. And they have not done this by themselves – a number of companies have been assisting them. By creating scaleable solutions this becomes an opportunity for business.
Solutions for climate change
In Copenhagen we are taking this to a new level with a concept that we call ’Copenhagen Solutions to Go’. We are working together with the Confederation of Danish Industries and companies. The city presents its solutions to climate change adaptation – and the companies describe how they have worked with the city in the development.
We can see how our solutions inspire other cities. And by involving the companies in the city-to-city contact that we have in networks and conferences, we are providing the companies with a unique platform for selling their products and solutions. And it works – companies like the Danish Engineering and consultancy company Rambøll are now entering the North American market with the solutions and ideas developed as part of the Climate Adaptation plan and Cloudburst Management Plan of Copenhagen. This creates jobs – both in the States and in Denmark.
Over the next years this concept will be developed further to integrate also climate solutions – focusing on for example district heating, mobility (especially biking) and smart city solutions.
And all parties benefit from this collaboration. We are branding Copenhagen as a front mover on green and sustainable solutions – and the companies are creating jobs and earning money. This is green growth in practice!
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