Information presented in this profile is for reference only. The Climate Action in Financial Institutions Initiative does not guarantee as to the exhaustiveness of this information and invites you to contact the Secretariat (contact@mainstreamingclimate.org) if you wish to propose any modifications.

By including this profile, the Initiative, its Supporting Institutions and the Secretariat do not endorse the activities described below nor the guidance and information provided in this profile.

Last updated: July 2018

Website: www.c40.org/

Contact: James Alexander, Programme Director, City Finance jalexander@c40.org


Launched in 2005, “C40 is a network of the world’s megacities committed to addressing climate change. C40 supports cities to collaborate effectively, share knowledge and drive meaningful, measurable and sustainable action on climate change.”[1]

What are the objectives of the initiative?

“Created and led by cities, C40 is focused on tackling climate change and driving urban action that reduces greenhouse gas emissions and climate risks, while increasing the health, wellbeing and economic opportunities of urban citizens.”[2]

Who launched it? Who is participating?

“C40 was founded on the idea that cities can achieve more by working together than acting alone – and city leaders have enthusiastically embraced it. Over the last decade, C40 has grown from 18 cities to more than 80 cities representing more than 600 million people and one quarter of the global economy. To date, C40 cities have committed to reducing their emissions by a total of more than 3 gigatons of C02 by 2030 – the equivalent of taking 600 million cars off the road.”[3]

Why has this been put into place?

“Since it was launched in 2005, the C40 Cities Climate Leadership Group has highlighted the critical role that cities must play in the global effort to confront climate change. Cities generate most of the world’s carbon emissions, and by 2030 approximately 60 percent of the global population will live in cities. Because city leaders usually have authority over the systems that create the most carbon emissions – like transportation, buildings, and waste – they can act boldly to reduce emissions and protect citizens from risks.


By helping mayors and city leaders identify effective policies and learn from one another, C40 has served as an engine for progress on climate change. That has improved millions of lives around the world, because the same policies that reduce carbon emissions also clean the air people breathe and help cities create jobs and attract businesses.”[4]

What are the main work streams/areas of work?

“C40 has 17 networks organised under 6 initiative areas covering the mitigation, adaptation and sustainability topics of highest priority to C40 cities and with the potential for the greatest climate impact.”[5] Among them, “the Finance and Economic Development Initiative supports C40 cities on a range of issues related to financing sustainable infrastructure development and delivering a prosperous green economy”.

“The Sustainable Infrastructure Finance Network supports cities to share best practice and find new solutions for financing green infrastructure. Key topics for the network include green bonds, city climate funds and business models that make use of all available climate financing mechanisms through a partnership with Citi Foundation and the World Resources Institute (WRI). The Sustainable Infrastructure Finance Network is led by Boston.”

“The Green Growth Network is focused on sharing city experience and expertise in engaging with the private sector to support green companies to startup and grow, as well as helping cities to use data on the economic and social benefits of green policies to make the case for taking climate action. The Green Growth Network is led by Copenhagen.”[6]

In addition to formal peer-to-peer networks, C40 also offers member cities additional services through its Programme model, on specific areas of work. One of them is focusing on finance. It includes:

The Financing Sustainable Cities Initiative: created to help accelerate investment in sustainable urban solutions, the Initiative consists of “three key components:

  • the development of a peer-to-peer learning community;
  • the provision of technical assistance;
  • and the delivery of an online engagement platform.”[7]

the C40 Cities Finance Facility (CFF): aiming to achieve the following “high-level project outcomes:

  • Project preparation of urban climate change investment projects for sustainable financing
  • Capacity development of city administrations to mobilise and access a broad range of financing instruments
  • Knowledge sharing beyond CFF partner cities via peer-to-peer learning and CFF stakeholders
  • Partnerships between cities, investors/financiers and their representations”[8]

What are concrete outcomes (both political and in terms of recommendations)?

“Today, C40 networks connect hundreds of city officials around the world, helping them to implement climate action, access partnership resources and overcome technical and financial barriers. Currently working across six initiative areas, C40 delivers over 100 workshops and webinars each year, alongside a dynamic online knowledge exchange platform.”[9]

Have intermediate or final reports / guidance been issued?

C40 Research Library is available on their website: www.c40.org/research

Publications focusing on finance include:

The Low Carbon Investment Landscape in C40 Cities, 2017

Based on C40-Arup research partnership Climate Action in Megacities (CAM) series of reports, and CDP’s annually updated global platform of environmental data, the C40 in partnership with CDP, developed a beta pipeline of planned sustainable infrastructure projects across C40 cities and published a narrative report analysing both publicly and privately-reported low-carbon infrastructure projects.

Creditworthiness, Good practice guide, 2016

This Good Practice Guide focuses on the key elements for a city to successfully increase its creditworthiness with a goal of investing in sustainable infrastructure. These include:

  • Increase Own-Source Revenue (OSR) and manage expenditure
  • Introduce best practices for financial management processes
  • Develop a ‘climate smart’ long term capital investment plan
  • Build a pipeline of public infrastructure projects
  • Undertake a ‘shadow’ credit rating assessment

Deadline 2020 – How Cities Will Meet the Paris Agreement, 2016

The key finding of this work is that the next 4 years will determine whether or not the world’s megacities can deliver their part of the ambition of the Paris Agreement. On that basis, the report presents the city-specific action pathways necessary to meet the target trajectories, laying out clearly the pace, scale and prioritisation of action needed between now and the end of the century. One part of the report is focusing on “funding the c40 city contribution to delivering the Paris Agreement”

Calendar and milestones

Associated Supporting Institutions of the Climate Action in Financial Institutions Initiative

The World Bank is a partner of the C40.

[1] https://www.c40.org/about

[2] https://www.c40.org/about

[3] https://c40-production-images.s3.amazonaws.com/fact_sheets/images/11_C40_on_its_10-year_anniversary_reOct2016.original.pdf?1475504972

[4] https://c40-production-images.s3.amazonaws.com/fact_sheets/images/11_C40_on_its_10-year_anniversary_reOct2016.original.pdf?1475504972

[5] https://c40-production-images.s3.amazonaws.com/fact_sheets/images/12_2016_Global_Initiatives_Factsheet.original.pdf?1464230837

[6] https://c40-production-images.s3.amazonaws.com/fact_sheets/images/12_2016_Global_Initiatives_Factsheet.original.pdf?1464230837

[7] https://www.c40.org/programmes/financing_sustainable_cities

[8] https://www.c40.org/programmes/c40-cities-finance-facility

[9] https://c40-production-images.s3.amazonaws.com/fact_sheets/images/11_C40_on_its_10-year_anniversary_reOct2016.original.pdf?1475504972

Links with the 5 Voluntary Principles for Mainstreaming Climate Action

This section aims to support discussions on the implementation of the 5 voluntary Principles for Mainstreaming Climate Action. Information provided in this section is for reference only; the Climate Action in Financial Institutions Initiative, its Supporting Institutions and the Secretariat do not endorse the activities nor the guidance and information provided in this section.

In the report Deadline 2020 C40 highlights the importance of the need for financial institutions to develop climate-related objectives in this area:

“While the data is not yet complete, initial estimates suggest that the city-level actions necessary to deliver the Deadline 2020 vision across the C40 cities could require investment of over $1 trillion to 2050. Just under half of this is required by 2020. Average total investment across the C40 cities of over US$50 billion per year may be required up to and beyond 2030 to move onto a 1.5 degree trajectory. On a per-city basis, Figure 38 shows that US$10-30 billion will be required by 2050 depending on the region, with African and South & West Asian cities needing the most.

Cities will therefore be required to manage significant pipelines of investment, leveraging funding from a range of parties and employing innovative financing mechanisms to deliver infrastructure and policy. As Figure 38 shows, a significant burden will be placed on C40 cities in developing nations, potentially those with lower access to capital. Cities will look to international institutions, national governments and private investors to support them in fulfilling their Deadline 2020 responsibilities. To this end, the C40 Cities Finance Facility (Section 6.1) is also ready to assist.”

The Sustainable Infrastructure Pipeline (beta version) highlights the pipeline of sustainable infrastructure projects across all C40 cities by 2020, providing a concrete overview of projects with mitigation and/or adaptation components.