New framework aims to ‘unlock billions’ needed for green urban development

A new collaboration of international organisations is launching a new framework to help unlock the billions needed to accelerate cleantech and sustainable development in cities across the world.

The Module for Sustainable Urban Development, announced on Wednesday (21 December), has been designed by certification body Gold Standard in a partnership between Climate-KIC, South Pole Group and ICEI to provide an urban-specific project packaging platform to make innovative low-carbon technologies investment-ready.

The framework looks to create a platform for sponsors to effectively assess climate change initiatives and allow cities to certify these urban development programs across sectors.

Gold Standard’s chief executive Marion Verles said: “This framework greatly broadens the potential sources of financing for sustainable urban development because the quantification and verification of results by an independent third party, provides the credibility and assurance that investors and funders increasingly demand.”

With cities consuming approximately 75% of energy across the globe and emitting 75% of global carbon emissions, transforming these urban areas is “critical” to combatting climate change. Currently, less than 15% of climate finance is given to cities and only 4% of the largest 500 cities in the developing world are deemed credit worthy in international markets.

Low-Carbon Development

The South Pole Group has successfully tested the framework module on “The Green Corridor” project in Cali, Colombia and waste treatment projects in Nairobi, Kenya.

Commenting on the module, South Pole Group’s practice leader for cities & climate finance Martin Stadelmann said: “By using standards to quantify development and climate outcomes, cities can show investors they are serious about low-carbon urban development.”

Cities can also act as testing ground for potential green policy. Earlier this year a new coalition of 83 affiliated cities was launched with the aim of using urban areas as an “evidence base” to highlight the sustainable climate solutions available to policy makers.

With a surge in city expansion in the UK, further sustainable investment will be needed to combat rising energy usage. Smart Energy GB has suggested a greater embrace of renewable energy and smart city solutions to help cope with the increasing energy demands.

Alex Baldwin

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