At a ceremony in New York, the City of Amsterdam has been awarded a prize for its sustainability fund (the Amsterdam Investment Fund). The jury recognised the fund as “an excellent example of innovation which will significantly improve the city’s sustainability efforts”. Wilma Mansveld, State Secretary for Infrastructure and the Environment, accepted the award on behalf of Mayor Van der Laan and Alderperson Choho. The State Secretary is in New York to participate in climate change discussions at the United Nations General Assembly.
Mansveld: “We need the ideas introduced by smart cities such as Amsterdam now more than ever. Cities are responsible for two thirds of global energy consumption and contribute in excess of 70% of the harmful greenhouse gases produced worldwide. And that means they are also part of the solution! I am extremely proud that Mayor Van der Laan has been awarded this prize and I hope that these types of practical solutions will also be introduced in other cities.”
The sustainability fund
Numerous businesses, residents and communities in Amsterdam are keen to invest in sustainability, but lack the necessary funding. In order to address this issue, in 2013, the City of Amsterdam established a sustainability fund offering financing (in the form of loans, backing or equity capital) to sustainable projects initiated by Amsterdammers. These projects are required to recover the initial investment, so that the loan can be repaid to the fund. The fund will then reinvest the money in other projects. What makes the fund unique is that it is available for everyone in the city, from sustainable start-ups to major commercial ventures and from community projects to resident’s initiatives. The fund has already allocated €22 million of investment; one such notable investment facilitated the installation of solar panels on the roof of Amsterdam RAI. These panels produce 360,000 kilowatt hours of energy, equivalent to the annual electricity requirements of 140 Amsterdam households, while reducing CO2 production by 150 tonnes a year.
Abdeluheb Choho, Amsterdam Alderperson responsible for sustainability: “We are currently in a process of improving sustainability, and I believe it’s my job to speed up this process. This fund allows us to invite Amsterdam residents and businesses to get involved. I am proud of this award. Investment in sustainable energy has financial as well as social benefits. This international recognition further validates the new coalition’s decision to use a sustainable energy fund to invest an additional €30 million in sustainable projects in Amsterdam during the coming city governance period.”
City Climate Leadership Awards
The City Climate Leadership Awards are an initiative of the C40 Cities Climate Leadership Group and Siemens. C40 is a global network of mayors from major cities (such as London, New York, São Paolo and Beijing), collaborating in the fields of climate change, innovation and sustainability. Amsterdam was invited to join the network, the core of which is formed by the mayors of these major cities. The mayor of São Paolo is the current chairperson of C40. The group’s partners include the Clinton Foundation, the World Bank, Bloomberg Philanthropies and various international companies.