London ranks in global top 5 for sustainability – research

London has been ranked as the fifth most sustainable city in the world in a new research.

Global design consultancy Arcadis examined 100 cities to determine how green they are by looking at their social (quality of life), environmental (looking at green factors including pollution, emissions and energy) and economic (reflecting the business environment and economic health) performance.

Arcadis’ Sustainable Cities Index analysed a total of 32 different indicators and is broken down into an overall index and three sub-indices across each category.

London’s top five ranking was mostly a result of its 3,000 green spaces. Manchester, Birmingham, Leeds, Edinburgh and Glasgow joined London inside the global top 25 for environmental sustainability, but all six UK cities need to do more to improve the quality of life for inhabitants according to the report.

Zurich took top place thanks to its particularly high rating for environmental and economic sustainability.

Richard Bonner, UK Cities Director, said:

“As one of the world’s greenest capitals and position at the centre of international trade, London can reap the long-term benefits of being a truly sustainable world city. However, three of the UK’s largest regional centres – Manchester, Birmingham and Leeds – are being outperformed by their European rivals.

“In particular, their poor economic performance should be of concern to policy makers looking to rebalance the country’s economy in the wake of Brexit.”

Globally, well-established European cities dominate the top of the overall ranking making up 16 of the top 20 positions. They are joined by the advanced Asian cities of Singapore (in second place), Seoul (7th) and Hong Kong (16th) as well as Australia’s capital, Canberra (18th).


Overall 2016 Sustainable Cities Index ranking

  1. Zurich
  2. Singapore
  3. Stockholm
  4. Vienna
  5. London
  6. Frankfurt
  7. Seoul
  8. Hamburg
  9. Prague
  10. Munich
  11. Amsterdam
  12. Geneva
  13. Edinburgh
  14. Copenhagen
  15. Paris
  16. Hong Kong
  17. Berlin
  18. Canberra
  19. Rotterdam
  20. Madrid
  21. Sydney
  22. Rome
  23. Vancouver
  24. Barcelona
  25. Manchester
  26. New York
  27. Wellington
  28. Montreal
  29. Antwerp
  30. Brisbane
  31. Birmingham
  32. Melbourne
  33. Toronto
  34. Boston
  35. Dublin
  36. Glasgow
  37. Warsaw
  38. Leeds
  39. San Francisco
  40. Brussels
  41. Macau
  42. Milan
  43. Seattle
  44. Washington
  45. Tokyo
  46. Lisbon
  47. Lyon
  48. Taipei
  49. Denver
  50. Los Angeles
  51. Philadelphia
  52. Dubai
  53. Baltimore
  54. Miami
  55. Kuala Lumpur
  56. Dallas
  57. Moscow
  58. Abu Dhabi
  59. Houston
  60. Chicago
  61. New Orleans
  62. Pittsburgh
  63. Atlanta
  64. Shenzhen
  65. Indianapolis
  66. Athens
  67. Bangkok
  68. Tampa
  69. Detroit
  70. Kuwait City
  71. Santiago
  72. Doha
  73. Beijing
  74. Shanghai
  75. Muscat
  76. Riyadh
  77. Istanbul
  78. Guangzhou
  79. São Paulo
  80. Buenos Aires
  81. Jeddah
  82. Rio de Janeiro
  83. Lima
  84. Mexico City
  85. Tianjin
  86. Amman
  87. Hanoi
  88. Jakarta
  89. Chennai
  90. Johannesburg
  91. Bengaluru
  92. Mumbai
  93. Chengdu
  94. Wuhan
  95. Cape Town
  96. Manila
  97. New Delhi
  98. Nairobi
  99. Cairo
  100. Kolkata

Sub-index rankings

People sub-index
The People sub-index rates health (life expectancy and obesity), education (literacy and universities), income inequality, work-life balance, the dependency ratio, crime, green space within cities and housing and living costs. These indicators can be broadly thought of as capturing “quality of life”.

  1. Seoul
  2. Rotterdam
  3. Hamburg
  4. Vienna
  5. Berlin
  6. Prague
  7. Amsterdam
  8. Munich
  9. Muscat
  10. Montreal

Planet sub-index
The Planet sub-index ranks cities on energy consumption and renewable energy share, recycling and composting rates, greenhouse gas emissions, natural catastrophe risk, drinking water, sanitation and air pollution. These indicators can broadly be thought of as capturing “green factors”.

  1. Zurich
  2. Stockholm
  3. Geneva
  4. Vienna
  5. Frankfurt
  6. Wellington
  7. Rome
  8. Sydney
  9. London
  10. Hamburg

Profit sub-index
The Profit sub-index examines performance from a business perspective, combining measures of transport infrastructure (rail, air and traffic congestion), ease of doing business, tourism, GDP per capita, the city’s importance in global economic networks, connectivity in terms of mobile and broadband access and employment rates.  These indicators can broadly be thought of as capturing “economic health”.

  1. Singapore
  2. Hong Kong
  3. London
  4. Dubai
  5. Zurich
  6. Edinburgh
  7. Prague
  8. New York
  9. Paris
  10. Stockholm