The Most Sustainable Cities in the World 2015
Arcadis have put together a report for 2015 listing the 50 most sustainable cities in the world. What these world leading cities have in common is the balance between the economic, social and environmental needs aslo referred to as Profit, People and Planet.
Our world is constantly changing, with rapidly developing technology and skyrocketing population growth people will continue to flock to the busy, dynamic and imposing urban centers. Urban migration has become a norm. Love it or hate it, we are now entering the “Age of the City”.
The Arcadis report have created an index based on the three criteria, Profit, Planet, People and applied it to the 50 most prominent cities in the world studying how viable these places are to live in; their environmental impact, financial stability, and how these elements complement one another.
People, measure the social performance including quality of life, Planet, captures environmental factors like energy emission and pollution and Profit, assesses business environment and economic performance. Arcadis defines a sustainable city as one that “works well for their citizens in the present, without causing problems for themselves and the rest of the world in the future.”
It is important to keep in mind that all the cities mentioned in the report are at different stages of the sustainable evolution. Each city possesses its own geolocation and cultural distinction but share common urban challenges such as job creation, mobility, resiliency and improving the quality of life for its residents. The criteria have helped assess each city giving them an index and place them on the sustainability scale. The purpose of the Arcadis report is not to create a hierarchy of elite cities, but to indicate areas of opportunity as each city continue to make a progress on their sustainable evolution.
Today urban cities dominate in population with 54%, economic output 70-80%, energy consumption 80% and greenhouse gas production 80%. Increasing sustainability in the cities will also give higher quality of life, greater prosperity and lower (per capita) greenhouse gas production.
According to Arcadis study, Frankfurt is the most sustainable city in the world, followed by London, Copenhagen, Amsterdam and Rotterdam based on the overall outcome of the three criteria.
Frankfurt has a long track record of proactively taking action to improve its sustainability. 25 years ago the city created its own energy agency and is founding member of the Climate Alliance of European Cities in 1990, pleading to continuously reduce its CO2 emissions by 10% every five years, resulting in a 50% cut by 2030. Since 1990 Frankfurt has been able to decrease its CO2 emissions per capita with 15% while increasing its economic power by 50% and office space by 80%. They are now working towards their new master plan “100% Climate Protection” striving for a Frankfurt that is 100% driven on renewable energy by 2050.
The runner up, London scored very well on the list, but fell short of Frankfurt due to poor air quality, a lack of infrastructure and a chronic shortage of affordable housing, according to The Guardian .
Regarding the Social Sustainability Rotterdam, The Netherlands and Seoul, South Korea came out first and second.
Among the least sustainable were fast –growing cities in Africa and Asia, with Nairobi and Kenya coming in last at 49th and 50th place.
The report mentions, that in many cases environmental and economic achievements happens at the expense of the cities social performance. The guardian notes that Amsterdam was the best balanced city on the planet, with a relatively consistent ranking in all three sub-indexes.
SD Trading is proud to be a Dutch company and based in a city like Amsterdam, we hope to see more companies get on the sustainability path and push Amsterdam to the top of the list in the future.