How London has ranked in new sustainability ratings

London’s transport infrastructure and accessibility make it one of the world’s leading sustainable cities, however its greenhouse gas emissions are on a par with Shanghai and Cape Town and keeping the city off the top of the overall rankings. Arcadis, a world leading consultancy in delivering sustainable solutions, reveals in its new Sustainable Cities Index rankings.
Find out how sustainable London is in the Arcadis Sustainable Cities Index 2022, by world’s leading consultancy.Find out how sustainable London is in the Arcadis Sustainable Cities Index 2022, by world’s leading consultancy.
Find out how sustainable London is in the Arcadis Sustainable Cities Index 2022, by world’s leading consultancy.

London performs very highly overall, coming sixth in the world, with scores near the top for profit, planet and people in the new Arcadis Sustainable Cities Index 2022 (SCI) ranking of 100 of the world’s leading cities.

The quality of London’s transport infrastructure and the access to it, is close to world beating. However, the sustainability of its transport infrastructure trails behind the quality of the service.

By international comparison, London scores well for sustainable transport – 15th overall – however its ranking is close to a number of other European cities, meaning it must continue to secure investment to remain sustainable in relative terms. For example, Hong Kong, Oslo and Stockholm score far higher than London in this category but other, perhaps more surprising cities also beat London, including Bogota, Lima and Wuhan.

From an environmental perspective, London is still a significant polluter, with greenhouse gas emissions per person on a par with Shanghai and Cape Town, which places the capital firmly in the middle of the rankings for environmental impact.

Yet London’s progressive and ambitious climate policy is one of the strongest in the world and if it is able to quickly turn intention into reality and secure the necessary investment to deliver widespread sustainability gains, it promises to maintain or even improve its score.

Prosper by putting the planet and people first

The SCI list examines cities across three pillars of sustainability: planet, people and profit.

Although each pillar is weighted equally, the findings show that a city can be dominant within a pillar, but still drop in the overall ranking. The combined result of each pillar determines the overall performance of each city.

Peter Hogg, Arcadis UK Cities Director and incoming Chair of the Confederation of British Industry’s (CBI) London Council, said: “It’s great to see London ranking in the top ten sustainable cities globally. London’s world class transport network, resilient economy and excellent links to the rest of the country and Europe make it one of the best places to live, work and play in the world.

“However, the city’s success has always been its key challenge and amid the ongoing cost of living crisis, tackling affordability issues are as pressing ever.

“And while the city isn’t quite the ‘Big Smoke’ it used to be, London’s per capita emissions need to be addressed. We have a credible and ambitious plan in place from the GLA that needs to be urgently put into action so that London can remain a great sustainable city for future generations.”

Together, we are facing an enormous challenge to achieve the Paris Climate Agreement. So when every fraction of a degree counts, are we doing enough to try to reach this goal?

Arcadis has a clear message and knows what we need to do and where we need to do it; the next step is how.

Way forward for London

Peter Hogg outlines several key schemes Arcadis is working on to help London prepare for the future:

Working with the City of London Corporation on its asset decarbonisation programme. Arcadis is advising on how to improve performance and support the net zero carbon target, while promoting London as a global city to invest in.

Helping the Ebbsfleet Development Corporation with the infrastructure for the development of a new sustainable town on the edge of Greater London, where the community can benefit from intelligent rail links into the Capital and the surrounding area, as well as easy ways to walk and cycle to work.

Enabling local authorities to deliver better social housing, through urban regeneration. Improvements can be made in quality, by redeveloping social housing for more sustainable living in the future. This can also help create more integrated communities.

As part of a wider team, Arcadis has developed a feasibility study for the West London Orbital rail link to provide reliable transport improvements to West London neighbourhoods and unlock new jobs and much needed homes.

Find out more

Only custom-tailored approaches can help cities take advantage of unique opportunities to mitigate climate change in their local geography and help people adapt to the unique challenges climate change brings.

To find out more about the sustainability performances of 100 of the world’s cities download the Arcadis Sustainable Cities Index 2022 here.