Collection (9)

Exploratory research ESG for Cities (ESG4C)

'ESG for Cities' (ESG4C) is an exploratory research project initiated by the Chief Science Office (CSO) of Amsterdam and the ESG Innovation Collective (a city-led task force by the City of Amsterdam and the City of Berlin). The research took place between September - December 2023 to find out what the new CSRD laws and the ESG framework can contribute to cities policymaking.

The EU Commission has embraced a new strategy for keeping companies accountable for their ecological footprint and social impact (CSRD & ESRS). In business terms this means that companies have to acquire an ESG rating (Environmental, Social, Governance) in their yearly accounting reports. For the environmental impact assessment, many data sets are available. However, for Social Impact it is unclear how this will be measured. Large consultancy firms are hiring thousands of people to help companies acquire such ESG ratings.

ESG4C has been exploring the possibility of Cities positioning themselves in this landscape as being the experts on Social Impact. By offering certificates for ESG ratings, future public/private partnerships have a new potential for engaging with social and cultural initiatives in cities and regions that were not viable before. In collaboration with researchers from local universities, who can measure the impact with scientific quality, cities can take such a position. As researchers, as civil servants, and as Chief Science Officers this is an opportunity to make a difference for many initiatives in our cities that need this kind of new support.

To prepare ourselves as cities we, as the ESG Innovation Collective, are organizing a thinktank to explore how we can do this. In every city there are already examples of interesting public/private/civic partnerships that can lead to ESG ratings. We gather stories and insights on what works and does not work and hope to have a preliminary framework ready as of January 2024.

In this collection we gather all materials. You find all sessions (to see the overview click 'more information') and the presentations clustered per sector (civic, public and private). In the collection 'Results' you find the summaries of research insights.

More information

These sessions were part of the research:

  • Research Conference #1 (September 13th)
  • Deepdive #1 "The ESG HUB and generating dynamic portfolios for communities, private sector and cities" (September 29th)
  • Deepdive #2 "Mapping Frameworks & Partnerships and Guidelines for social & cultural organisations to benefit from ESG frameworks." (October 6th)
  • Deepdive #3 "Social agenda as capital and the dynamics between Institutional investors, Capital markets, private sector, municipalities and the social agenda of future cities delivering ROI for cross industry participants." (October 13th)
  • Deepdive #4 "Measuring & Assessing Social Impact and New methodologies that point to measuring social status quo, effort and outcome in living environments. Insight on new best practices, case studies and frameworks.." (October 27nd)
  • Research Conference #2 (November 1st)
  • Research insights and outlook 2024 (8th December 2023)


The website of the ESG Innovation Collective and their materials on openresearch.

Chief Science Office of the City of Amsterdam

Image credits

Icon image: ESG for Cities

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