Tackling climate change with the C40

Arup UrbanLife workshops address specific issue faced by cities, resulting in a strategic plan for action.

In partnership with the C40, a group of 40 of the world’s largest cities committed to tackling climate change, Arup is running action-oriented workshops with the leaders of Toronto, Melbourne, São Paulo and Ho Chi Minh City.

Arup’s technical expertise, sustainable integrated thinking and policy consulting helps each city realise solutions that will help reduce greenhouse gas emissions and/or adapt to climate change.

The workshops held to date have focused on energy, information communications technology (ICT), waste and water strategies. Insight from each workshop will be shared in a series of Arup C40 reports launched later in 2010.


Arup provided research support to the C40 in the run-up to the Rio+20 Earth Summit in 2012, to calculate the potential emissions reduction that C40 cities could contribute to global efforts to tackle climate change – research used in former US President Bill Clinton’s video address to the Summit.


The first C40 workshop was hosted by the City of Toronto and Arup in September 2009. Senior city officials, utility companies and city residents came together with Arup's energy experts to devise a plan that will allow all Toronto neighbourhoods to be as clean and green as possible, contributing to an 80% carbon reduction by 2050.

Arup drew the conclusions of the workshop together into a 'neighbourhood energy action plan methodology' which the city will build on for its overall sustainable energy strategy.

David Miller, Mayor of Toronto and Chair of the C40 said: "We can’t reach our carbon reduction goals without everyone – all city divisions and agencies, business and residents – doing their part. The C40 UrbanLife workshop was an important step towards understanding the actions different groups must take and how the benefits of acting together can be coordinated in the most effective way."


Melbourne’s workshop in March 2010 defined three projects that use ICT to help change behaviour among citizens and enable the city government to better deliver its climate change policies.

Arup's consultants worked with senior City of Melbourne officials and external stakeholders to consider smart-ticketing for transport, green infrastructure mapping and a city-wide ICT strategy.

São Paulo

Arup ran São Paulo’s workshop on 4 and 5 May 2010, in partnership with the World Bank. The topic was neighbourhood and city-wide waste management, and considered how to collect organic waste in the city’s favelas (the informal settlements where 11% of the population reside) and process it to generate electricity or biogas using anaerobic digestion technology.

Around 150 people attended the workshop and the outcome will be a project that can be delivered by June 2011.

Ho Chi Minh City

The Arup UrbanLife workshop in Ho Chi Minh City on 12 May 2010 addressed the city's water management challenges relating to climate change adaptation. 

Further workshops are planned for later in 2010 in Addis Ababa and a European city.


  • Delegates at the Melbourne C40 workshopOpen gallery

    Arup's Susan Claris, Peter Head, John Miles and Mark Watts with city officials and stakeholders at the Melbourne workshop.

  • Tram with Melbourne skyline behind.

    The Melbourne workshop considered smart ticketing for transport, green infrastructure mapping and a city-wide ICT strategy.

  • Toronto from the air. Credit Royal Ontario Museum.

    The plan from the first C40 workshop will help Toronto achieve an 80% carbon reduction by 2050.