The case for ESG in the Cities

Cities, Regional councils can lead the fight for a better world and use the principles of ESG as the guidebook. Cities represent a big Frontier for ESG, Energy & Waste & Green Build.

12/30/20226 min read

ESG for Cities

Cities, Regional councils can lead the fight for a better world and use the principles of ESG as the guidebook. Cities represent a big Frontier for ESG, Energy & Waste & Green Build. I want to highlight that ESG is for more than just companies.

Every city, regional council or government needs to have an ESG strategy and work with local businesses. Cities / or Regional Councils have a significant advantage and are in a prime position to lead this.

They have a direct relationship with people in the cities – through the provision of services, charging rates, water, and building and Urban Renewal. Not only people but businesses – small and big – Supermarkets, Shopping Centers, Industries and Farming.

So, Let’s break down ESG For Cities.

E · Water, Energy, Air Quality, · Waste to Energy, Recycling, Building Codes, Smart Grids · Encourage Net Zero Build, New net Zero Neighborhoods · Transport

S · Increase the Social standing of its population, create income opportunities, Look at Food Waste and better options for food recycling and lower prices · Provide lower Cost housing – not only build = ongoing die to better Eco design.

G · Providing transparency · Requires Measurement & Reporting with real-time analytics to highlight efficiency · Taxes for polluters · Managing Climate & social risks · Incentives for good behaviour · Education The Basic Premise is that ESG, Innovation that improves Energy Efficiency, savings for people, and increases business opportunities, is not a burden.

ESG does not conflict with other aims. So, where to start?

UN SDG 11 – is to make cities and human settlements inclusive, safe, resilient and sustainable

Time to build new cities/suburbs based on lower-cost natural materials, smart grids – renewable energy, water and waste and recycling independence,

And these buildings should also encourage more common space - we work style offices, lounges run by the residents as where people can work and meet up, Gyms in the building encouraging exercise, maybe pools, common gardens, solar roofs and more. Bringing the concept of Retirement Villages to everyday living where there are shared facilities and activities,

Why are cities not planning or building new suburbs based on this model – all the Tech and elements are in place to do this?

There is unlimited demand for Affordable Eco-Technological Housing Solutions · Self-sufficient Suburbs / Villages /Towns · Water · Sewage, · Recycling · Smart Grid · Communication · Smart Grid including hybrid solar energy solution Co-generation Power to create a consistent Energy supply · Agriculture and Forests

Waste – an Opportunity for the S – social in the city

Here I want to include the social aspect. - looking after the less fortunate, and a great example could be supermarkets to sell near-the-end shelf-life produce at lower prices and, in some cases, distributing this to the poor. There should be a city and supermarkets project in every city to encourage this, and new legislation to make this compulsory. If the government can tax plastics and sugar, surely the government can encourage lower food prices, reduce food waste and use this opportunity to support lower-income families.

There are already tech solutions to enable this – Meet – Wasteless, who are helping supermarkets and online grocery stores recapture the full value of their perishable products and reduce food waste through AI-powered dynamic pricing.

Urban Farming

The general idea of urban farming is to grow to produce locally, save on unnecessary transport costs and emissions and provide lower-cost and higher-quality fresh produce – vegetables and flowers. Several solutions are being promoted in this area. I want to share two of these:

Meet Bing Klima, who has a lovely solution for urban farming & solar electricity generation. Bing Klima’s mission is for “anyone can grow their own food and contribute to the environment by doing so – Anywhere Any season”. They have a dual-use technology that enables urban Agri voltaic projects on roofs or gardens that use Solar energy and natural lighting, reduce urban heat load and greenhouse gas emissions, provides fresh produce and creates double income.

I want to highlight another interesting hi-tech vertical farming solution. This is a good user case for supermarkets to implement or the use of older industrial buildings, and unused space could be converted into urban farming projects in city-wide projects. Meet Growin – “Growin smart farming is turning vacant urban spaces into productive green vertical modular farms. Our system uses computer simulations to conduct early tests to evaluate how a variety may perform when faced with different subclimates, nutrition’s, weather patterns, and other factors, and based on machine learning, our growing units are more accurate, efficient, and capable of evaluating a much wider set of variables.”

Other Urban Farming Resources

What about the G- Governance?

Governance and government – national and local. Requires initiatives, legislation (laws), incentives, fines, procedures and more, It starts with education and awareness and then risk and opportunity assessment. it will require measurement, accountability and transparency and programs to bring out about the change. With all the available solutions - our cities and our mayors are in the best position to drive this. Some cities are already started sustainability initiatives (also in Israel) to tackle this. However, we as “tax” payers have an important role to play here – through awareness, discussions with local city council members, activism and more. ESG principles should drive measurability and accountability. For example – We are asked to recycle glass, plastic bottles and more – how do we know the environmental impact and are our plastics etc., really being recycled? There should also be legislation, fines and incentives also to encourage more transparency and accountability, “green” building, urban farming and more.

The ESG Opportunity

With the increased interest in the physical impacts of climate change. NGOs, governments, and municipalities are preparing for a sustainable and resilient transition to a low-carbon economy. ESG “Enterprise” helps city leaders deliver ESG impact to a low-carbon economy. City leaders face dual challenges from COVID and the growing millennial population demanding more sustainable city infrastructure amidst budget shortfalls. By adopting ESG, cities can create opportunities and investments to tackle sustainability, improve the quality of life, and pursue smart growth simultaneously. The growing demand from investment communities for city planners and municipalities to adopt ESG to mitigate investment risks is evident across Europe, Asia, and North America. By adopting ESG, cities and municipalities can leverage green bonds to fund sustainable city projects and social causes. Hence, improving the quality of living and social responsibilities. ESG Enterprise solutions are designed for urban planning with a focus on environmental planning, socially responsible material sourcing & procurement, and waste management. Sustainability cities and municipalities can utilise the free tools to advance climate action and adopt ESG today.

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Africa has the biggest need.

Within the next four decades, the African city population will almost triple. Currently, more than half of the urban population of sub-Saharan Africa lives in slums. Open the curtain to discover two possible futures. Will the African city become ‘smart’ for the privileged few? Or is it possible to think of a wiser and more inclusive future?

Africa’s urban population is expected to triple between 2010 and 2050, reaching 1.2 billion people. The continent will overtake Eastern Asia as the region with the most significant urban population in the world. Most of Africa’s urban population lives in small cities, likely to undergo substantial expansion in the coming decades. The scale of development required to accommodate this growth is monumental, and for the most part, it follows a car-oriented intensive path. African cities represent the single most significant opportunity for developing post-fossil cities and cannot be ignored when envisioning our urban future. These cities have the potential to adopt radically different approaches to development that learn from the successes and mistakes of the rest of the world and combine these learnings with local wisdom to create inspiring cities that lead us into a post-fossil future. As a prelude to envisioning the Post-Fossil African City, our installation brings to the fore some of the harsh realities of urban life in Africa using a dramatic 'status quo' scene. But first, we must acknowledge the current existence. While most citizens in European cities take infrastructure like piped water and electricity for granted, the same cannot be said in the cities of Sub-Saharan Africa, where over 60% of the population lives in slums. They experience a daily struggle to access water, energy and food amid extremely uncomfortable, unhealthy and often dangerous living environments. Many governments find it easier to exclude these people from the definition of ‘the city’, slum dwellers with no guarantee of meeting their basic needs and no prospects for the future.


The smart city represents a vision of the future akin to those crafted by multinational technology companies and real estate developers, aimed at positioning African cities as a new space of opportunity for the world’s elite. This is a city of high-security enclaves served by “smart” technologies that seamlessly integrate renewable energy, robotics and personal mobility to optimise the convenience of those who can afford to live there. To protect the safe and sanitary environment enjoyed by its users, security checkpoints are a way of life. The poor are relegated to living in unserviced informal settlements between wind turbines on the urban edge or begging on the streets (when they manage to sneak into the city). This city may combine best practices from around the world but largely ignores what the local context offers. Although the modernity and ambition of this city stir pride in many residents, its promises of a better future for all are hollow as it does little to improve the lives of those living in ever-expanding slums.

Planetary Boundaries – an interesting resource

The Doughnut offers a vision of what it means for humanity to thrive in the 21st century - and Doughnut Economics explores the mindset and ways of thinking needed to get us there. The Doughnut consists of two concentric rings: a social foundation to ensure that no one is left falling short on life’s essentials and an ecological ceiling to ensure that humanity does not collectively overshoot the planetary boundaries that protect Earth's life-supporting systems. Between these two sets of boundaries lies a doughnut-shaped, ecologically safe and socially just space in which humanity can thrive.