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Viable Cities’ Finance

  • Published on February 14, 2022

Mobilizing private capital will be essential to achieving the Sustainable Development Goals. The Viable Cities’ Finance project examines how financial actors and cities can best collaborate to finance the achievement of the sustainability-related goals of Swedish cities.

While sustainable investing is booming, unlocking the potential of clean technologies and accelerating the transition to low carbon economies, research shows that few bonds support a holistic view of sustainable cities.

Out of the 3916 bonds found in the Environmental Finance database only 3% were designated as social and 4% as sustainable. In Sweden the first city-driven green bond, issued in 2013 by the City of Gothenburg, has raised concerns over the additionality of the environmental impacts and lack of consideration to social equality and justice. Unless sustainability impacts are holistically considered in bond frameworks, trade-offs between environmental and social benefits may occur.

This project aims to accelerate investments in viable cities by:

  • identifying the needs and gaps of various stakeholders in terms of creating sustainable cities
  • assessing how much sustainable finance is currently geared towards sustainable cities
  • reviewing impact frameworks and metrics
  • mobilizing the supply and demand side of the market to ensure that sustainable financing supports a holistic view of sustainable cities

The project team is made up of 2 research institutes, representatives from the private sector and Swedish municipalities.

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