Cities and sustainable living

Consumption in urban areas contributes greatly to greenhouse gas emissions. Because of their size and density, cities have an outsized influence on shaping household demand and global supply chains.

Cities have a unique opportunity to leverage action by local governments and urban stakeholders to tackle unsustainable consumption. They can meet their citizens’ needs and aspirations to thrive: living well for all within planetary boundaries.

Cities shape everyday living

Cities have the opportunity to use their leadership to shape the narrative around consumption. Local authorities play a spectrum of roles and influence the daily lives of citizens through their influence on land use and density, building size and efficiency, transportation infrastructure, utility services, open space and natural features.

Tools such as consumption-based carbon emissions inventories and the ecoCity Footprint Tool can help communities evaluate the extent to which local consumption is drawing down natural resources and contributing to climate change.

Consumption-based emissions inventories can help communities evaluate the extent to which local consumption is drawing down resources and contributing to climate change.

These tools also provide insights on priorities for acting. There is a greater responsibility for action by high-consuming cities, which need to reduce their consumption emissions by 2/3 by 2050.

The ‘Cities and Sustainable Living’ solution area is about empowering local governments to enable sustainable living through their political leadership and diverse levers of action at the city level. Partner programs in this Beacon solution area include C40 Cities Thriving Cities Initiative and the EcoCity Centre of Excellence.

The Beacon is led by OneEarth Living and Hot or Cool, with generous support from the KR Foundation