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City Finance Lab - Catalysing climate action in cities with innovative finance solutions

South Pole, in collaboration with EIT Climate-KIC, led the Climate Finance Lab (CFL), Europe's first incubator for scalable, green financing solutions that boosted investment in sustainable urban projects.

Cities hold the key to a sustainable future as they account for 70% of global energy-related carbon emissions. However, these urban centres are in dire need of climate finance to meet the Paris Agreement's goals and become carbon neutral by 2050.

As central hubs of culture and commerce, low-carbon innovations unlock a world of benefits for cities: clean air, healthy citizens, job opportunities and increased competitiveness. With the right financial support, city leaders can lead by example, driving the global agendas on climate mitigation and adaptation.


Watch our video about City Finance Lab: Catalysing climate action in cities through innovative financing solutions

What did the platform do?

Launched in 2018, the Climate Finance Lab was Europe's first dedicated platform for supporting innovative financing solutions that catalyse climate action in cities.

In order to increase cities' capacity for low-carbon and climate-resilient initiatives, the lab offered tailored technical advisory . This included analysis and guidance to strengthen solution design, identify partners and attract potential investors. This advisory was sourced from CFL-assigned topical and geographical experts.

The CFL also extended its support by promoting knowledge sharing and capacity building to cities. A central tenet of CFL's mission was to disseminate its results and findings widely, as sharing insights from these innovative ideas would further help mobilise other urban centres to replicate and scale climate action for all.

How did it work?


The City Finance Lab's tried and tested approach yielded tangible benefits to participating cities and partners all across Europe.

From 2018 to 2020, the platform extended its support to ten cities spanning the United Kingdom, France, Norway, Portugal, Poland, Germany, and Cyprus.

The lab worked on a diverse array of activities that ranged from developing tailored funds for green infrastructure and climate action projects to self-assessment tools to measure climate-related risks in local governments and energy performance contracting schemes.

Through the City Finance Lab, cities were able to improve and expand their sustainable urban development efforts while also contributing to global climate objectives.

Our solutions

Take a look at the projects delivered with the City Finance Lab, download the factsheets below.


Community Forest Trust, United Kingdom

A natural capital-based investment fund to cover the core resources of Community Forests.


Paris Green Fund, France

Accelerating the replication of territorial development funds such as the "Paris Green Fund"


Kommunalbanken, Norway

A self-assessment tool to measure climate-related risks for local governments


Lisbon City Council, Portugal

Integrating climate action projects into a city's Participatory Budget (PB)


National Energy Conservation Agency, Poland

An Energy Performance Contracting scheme to stimulate deep retrofitting of buildings in citiesAn Energy Performance Contracting scheme to stimulate deep retrofitting of buildings in cities


Bable Smart Solutions SB, Germany

Digital packaged investment tool to mobilise resources for smart and sustainable city solutions


City of Paris, France

Urban resilience indicators in municipal budgeting to evaluate the co-benefits of resilient infrastructure projects


Greater Manchester Combined Authority, United Kingdom

Blended public-private investments for developing urban green infrastructure


La Rochelle, France

Territorial Carbon Aggregator, supporting small-scale climate-aligned projects


Municipality of Aradippou, Cyprus

Lead Partners

Supporting partners

Talk to us about getting started on your Climate Journey
Matteo Barberi, Manager Technical Assistance for Climate Investments
Talk to us about getting started on your Climate Journey
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