Which companies have taken the lead in sustainable cities? While a number of firms are working to establish their reputations in smart cities and technologies, several stand out, though for different reasons.
In terms of carving out a high-profile niche in the area, for example, IBM grabs the spotlight for its Smarter Planet initiative. It’s far more than just hype, though: the company is involved in well over 150 sustainable city projects across the globe, as well as a Smarter Cities Challenge and its City Forward web-based platform.
While Siemens’ efforts might lack IBM’s glitz and PR-friendly program names, the firm is a top performer in actual technologies, products and services for sustainable cities — from wind energy to electrified transport. It’s no slouch in initiatives, either, including its “European Green City Index,” “Latin American Green City Index,” “Megacity Challenges Study” and London sustainability centre.
Lighting and consumer products have long been Philips’ bread and butter, but the company has moved far beyond that to become another firm embracing urban sustainability. It’s partnered with the World Green Building Council in an effort to improve the energy efficiency of cities by 40 per cent over the coming decade, and next spring plans to announce the winners of its Livable Cities Award.
Fresh off its own $200 million Ecomagination Challenge, GE is also focused on addressing the needs of the world’s growing urban populations. Among its projects are 20 partnerships with cities aimed at developing everything from “cow power” in Shenyang, China, to smarter, automated transport in Barcelona, Spain.
Building on its involvement with the Clinton Global Initiative to reduce carbon emissions, Cisco went on to launch the Connected Urban Development program. The effort started with San Francisco, Amsterdam and Seoul, and has now expanded to include Birmingham, Hamburg, Lisbon and Madrid.
Oracle’s focus on sustainable cities puts a special emphasis on public-sector software, integration services and optimisation, while Home Depot promotes smart urban development through its Sustainable Cities Institute, a project of the Home Depot Foundation.
Autodesk also puts its software expertise to good use through its collaboration with the Carbon Disclosure Project for Sustainable Cities. The effort aims to create a standardised platform by which cities can report on their greenhouse gas emissions and other climate-related data.