Edinburgh first UK city accepted into new sustainable cities initiative

By Ollie Mulkerrins
The Cities CAN B initiative chose Edinburgh from a host of 14 applicants, to join a global effort to work towards UN sustainability goals. Edinburgh h...

The Cities CAN B initiative chose Edinburgh from a host of 14 applicants, to join a global effort to work towards UN sustainability goals.

Edinburgh has joined a global movement comprising four cities working towards sustainability, prosperity and inclusivity. The Cities CAN B programme includes Barcelona in Spain, Cordoba in Argentina and Auscion in Paraguay.

The programme encourages applicants to tackle challenges issued by the United Nation’s Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) and to achieve goals in line with the 2030 targets set out by the initiative.

14 cities applied to be a part of the initiative during this round of applications, with only four making the cut. Those accepted will join a partnership with Mendoza in Rio de Janeiro and Santiago in Chile. Edinburgh’s own application was a collaborative effort between several Edinburgh based organisations, led by the Edinburgh Chamber of Commerce (ECC)

ECC worked in conjunction with Scotland CAN B, the SDG Network Scotland, B Lab UK and Edinburgh Napier University through an event with 40 organisations kicking off the initiative. The ECC are set to continue this level of engagement as the Cities CAN B movement gathers speed.


 “Scotland was one of the first nations to adopt the SDGs into its own National Performance Framework, so as one of the key drivers of our country’s economic growth, Edinburgh has to lead by example. We now have a fantastic opportunity to take a globally recognised model of better sustainability and implement it here,” said Ewan Aitken, Chair of the Edinburgh Chamber of Commerce Inspiring Communities group and CEO of Cyrenians. “For too long, we have divided different sectors into silos, with the end result being that the private sector, public sector and third sector compete against each other, rather than collaborating and becoming more than the sum of their parts. Now we can change that. Edinburgh is already a great place to live and work and Cities CAN B is a great opportunity for us to make it even better.”

Jane Clark-Hutchison, President of the Edinburgh Chamber of Commerce, added: “We are all increasingly aware of the need to adopt more sustainable practices to meet the challenges of the 21st century, which is why the SDGs laid out in 2015 were so welcome. The next stage was to work out the practical steps and actions that we can take to meet such ambitious, yet necessary, goals.”

“Cities CAN B is an outstanding, forward-looking programme that drives this agenda forward and we at the Edinburgh Chamber of Commerce are delighted that our city has been selected for inclusion. We want to make Edinburgh the best place to do business and a truly socially inclusive city. We will now look to bring together communities and businesses across Edinburgh to turn these ambitions into reality.”


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