City Finance Lab explores new advisory services to catalyse investment in sustainable cities

With the carbon costs of travel in mind, Climate Innovation Summit session summaries are available online for those who cannot attend—and for review for those present. These summaries aim to extract the key debates, dialogues, and learnings from each #MissionFinance session.

New advisory services for the City Finance Lab (CFL)—an EIT Climate-KIC and South Pole initiative that supports the development of financing solutions that create opportunities for investment in sustainable cities—were discussed and proposed by workshop participants at the Climate Innovation Summit.

The panelists and workshop co-ordinators were Hans-Peter Egler, Director of Public Affairs, South Pole, Denis Jorisch, Senior Consultant, South Pole, Victor Gancel, Programme Manager, Low Carbon City Lab, and Catlyne Haddaoui, Research Analyst, Coalition for Urban Transitions.

Cities are essential to tackling climate change. However, climate mitigation and adaptation projects at the city-level still struggle to attract enough investment. Moreover, there is no one-size-fits-all solution for cities.

“It’s difficult for them to have common strategies, but this also opens a space for creative solutions,” said Egler.

Haddaoui emphasised the need to contextualise projects based on scale: “Emissions reduction potential exists more in small and medium sized areas… we need to consider if a city is densely populated or not.”

Participants split into groups to discuss new approaches to CFL’s core services, what additional services it might offer and how its services might be scaled.

Core services

When it comes to core advisory services, it’s important to first define a high level of ambition: The majority of projects aim for 30 per cent improvement, and there needs to be a move towards zero-carbon and a 20-year level of returns.

Capacity building needs to happen and at city level as it requires a high degree of trust and support from citizens. Projects lead by utilities and investors, for example, do not elicit the same community backing.

Moreover, changes need to happen at a policy level—specific mandates and incentives—to support such projects.

Finally, price point should be considered as a mechanism that triggers investment. An example was given whereby green unit proudction was priced at €93K per unit, then, via improved efficiency, were priced down to €60K. Investors claimed €50K was the threshold for increased funding.

Additional services

Additional services can be considered organically, by looking at what develops out of CFL’s work. For example, potential changes in governments. Cross-city change could be another thing to consider.

Scaling services

Emphasis was placed on first generating strong proof-of-concepts within the EU, then scaling to other parts of the world.

The workshop concluded with an essential insight: There needs to be an effort made to involve a variety of stakeholders in sustainable city projects—not only government officials. Community involvement and support is key to a zero-carbon economy.

 
Location
Ireland
Related Goal
Goal 12: Foster bankable green assets in cities
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