When it comes to environmental policy and projects, it’s important to implement progressive change on both the federal and local level. The C40 Summit brought the leaders of nearly 70 cities together to discuss sustainable cities and presented awards to 11 cities for their enacted environmental solutions. The solutions ranged from the first light rail transit system in Africa to a program to fund green energy investments in Korea.

Here are a few of the cities that received awards:

Transportation: Addis Ababa, Ethiopia

Built in just three years to navigate the city’s crowded streets, this new light rail transit project, the first in sub-Saharan Africa, has created more than 6,000 jobs and will cut 1.8 million tons of CO2 emissions by 2030. Designed to be affordable in a city where most people walk to work, the system has become an engine for economic mobility.

Building Energy Efficiency: Melbourne and Sydney, Australia

To help commercial tenants and Australian businesses cut their emissions and energy use, the government established CitySwitch Green Office, a successful education and awareness program that has helped hundreds of buildings go green with workshops and seminars that help encourage more energy-efficient retrofits. So far, the program boasts a $10.4 million annual benefit to the bottom lines of participating businesses.

Social Equity & Climate Change; Seoul, South Korea

The energy retrofits and green building technologies pushed by sustainability experts can provide significant benefits to low-income families, but the down payment to install can put them out of reach for many. The South Korean capital has financed an innovative program to fund green energy investments, helping thousands of families. The city has even set up a “virtual power plant,” which sells the energy saved by 17 municipal buildings and uses that money to fund additional energy welfare programs.

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