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The Power of Partnerships: The First Ever Sustainable Cities Initiative Convening

One hallmark of our approach is partnerships — we are always looking for opportunities to bring together people, ideas and resources from across sectors toward a common purpose — which is why we were thrilled to convene all of our Sustainable Cities partners from across philanthropy, government, international organizations and non-profits together for the first time ever this week.

Now more than ever, what happens in cities is shaping our world. Cities are home to the majority of the global population and power the world’s economy. With 70% of the world’s greenhouse gas emissions coming from cities, they also present the greatest opportunities for climate action. Most exciting, with support from our Sustainable Cities partners, mayors and cities throughout the world are taking action today.

Together, our partners have made great progress this past year:

  • Networks of city leaders are growing and are having an impact.
    • C40, a network of the world’s megacities committed to addressing climate change, expanded to 75 cities around the world, adding members in some of the most populous countries. Cities in the C40 network now represent 25 percent of the world’s economy.
    • The Urban Sustainability Directors Network, a network of 130+ sustainability directors throughout the U.S. and Canada, is helping staff share best practices, save time and money, find solutions to their challenges, and gain support for their work.
  • Proven solutions are spreading: The City Energy Project, a joint initiative between the Institute for Market Transformation and Natural Resources Defense Council, is working with leaders in 10 U.S. cities to replicate successful and proven building energy efficiency policies.  As one example of their recent progress, Atlanta – a city that works with the City Energy Project – just launched plans that could see a 20 percent reduction in energy use by 2020.
  • Good data is amplifying the important role of cities: In partnership with UN Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon, UN Special Envoy for Cities and Climate Change Michael R. Bloomberg launched the Compact of Mayors, a common platform to capture the impact of cities’ collective actions through consistent, public reporting of their efforts. Today, Mike released an op-ed with the Mayor of Paris Anne Hidalgo highlighting the efforts of the Compact of Mayors in the lead up to COP21, the UN conference on climate change that will happen in Paris this December.

Additionally we were honored to be joined by many of our funding partners including the Kresge Foundation, Doris Duke Foundation, Rockefeller Brothers Foundation, Surnda Foundation, Summit Foundation and JPB Foundation. These partners have been crucial to supporting the Sustainable Cities program.

The collective impact of these partnerships provides the evidence that cities are true climate leaders, and that what happens at the local level can change the world.  We are excited to see what new partnerships and collaborations develop over the next year!