Towards smarter, more efficient European cities

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Anne-Sophie Blin
EMEA Upstream Sustainability Services

2,700 local European authorities of varying sizes have made public commitments to reduce their greenhouse gas emissions. These will be carried out through the European Covenant of Mayors’ network. The European Union has identified cities as key to its ambitious 2020 objectives of 20% energy savings. Initiatives in the area of sustainable urban development are gaining momentum. They are also bringing together city governments and the private sector. For example, 500 representatives of city governments, the energy industry and the financial sector, recently attended the launch of the European Commission’s Smart Cities and Communities initiative.

In addition to a focus on budget constrains and reducing public deficits, one of the challenges for European cities will be securing funds to implement their plans. Some European public funds are available for cities to finance energy efficiency, urban development and infrastructure projects. These are most commonly combined with investment from the private sector. As an example, the European Investment Bank (EIB), Deutsche Bank and the Cassa Depositi e Prestiti  have just launched a €265 million energy efficiency fund aimed at providing financing for public energy efficiency and renewable energy projects that are commercially viable. The ambition is to raise the volume of the fund to €800 million by attracting further investors.

The availability of both public and private funds is critical to enable cities to move sustainable urban projects forward. The Carbon Disclosure Project Cities initiative offers a unique platform for cities to market their climate change strategies. It also provides insight for investors and businesses to identify opportunities to work with cities and to provide innovative solutions.

Click here to view Jones Lang LaSalle’s July edition of the Global Sustainability Perspective.

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