GCI Director Patricia McCarney speaks at 2018 GLOBE Forum in Vancouver

Updated: May 11, 2018

On March 14-16, Global Cities Institute Director Patricia McCarney participated in GLOBE Forum 2018 - The Leadership Summit for Sustainable Business in Vancouver, Canada. Dr. McCarney was invited to offer a keynote address and moderate the panel “The Road to Smart Cities is Data Driven.” Dr. McCarney emphasized the fundamental importance of standardized data to inform the design, implementation, monitoring, and scaling up of smart city innovations.

Speaking with Dr. McCarney on the panel were:

  • Gerard Peets - Director General, Smart Cities Challenge, Infrastructure Canada

  • Angelo Miceli - Head, Public Segment Canada, Philips Lighting

  • Anni Sinnemäki - Deputy Mayor, City of Helsinki

Dr. McCarney’s panel discussion highlighted how private sector leaders are partnering with local governments to develop data-driven solutions that can help to make cities more sustainable, smart, inclusive and prosperous. As the longest-running sustainability conference in North America, bringing together 10,000 participants from over 50 countries, GLOBE Forum was an important setting to emphasize open and standardized city data as the “universal language of cities.”

As GLOBE Forum participants showcased their smart city innovations at the conference’s Innovation Expo, the panel discussed the vital role of city data to show where smart city innovations are needed most, whether they are making an impact, and how innovative solutions can to travel to other cities.

One of the themes at GLOBE Forum was “the state of our oceans,” highlighting the role business, government, and civil society have to play in protecting them. This theme was developed based on the United Nations Sustainable Development Goal (SDG) 14: Life below water. The SDGs were in the spotlight at GLOBE Forum as the conference launched the Global SDG Awards on March 15 - the world’s first international, private sector focused sustainability competition based on the UN SDGs.

GLOBE Forum writes that the The Global SDG Awards are aimed to “increase private sector SDG investment, foster the inclusion of new reporting metrics based on SDG indicators, and create a platform to recognize outstanding corporate efforts to improve our world.”

“According to a recent PwC report, 62% of companies now include the SDGs in their annual sustainability reports. Despite this, less than 30% of those have set specific SDG targets. Even fewer measure the success of their corporate responsibility programs by using the SDG indicators. The Global SDG Awards were created to address this key challenge” said David A. Klar, Executive Director.

Addressing the challenge of measuring progress towards sustainable development targets also requires reliable data. This is the purpose behind ISO 37120 - the ISO standard for Sustainable development in communities: Indicators for city services and quality of life.

Created in 2014 and spearheaded by the Global Cities Institute, ISO 37120 is the world’s first standard on city data. Housed in the World Council on City Data (WCCD) open data portal, the data being reported to the WCCD for ISO 37120 certification helps cities to assess progress to the 2030 UN Goals by measuring cities’ performance on 100 indicators across 17 themes related to city services, quality of life and sustainability.

In July 2017 at UN Headquarters in New York, Dr. McCarney and others from the Global Cities Institute launched “WCCD City Data for the United Nations Sustainable Development Goals- an exhaustive, 500-page report that maps each of the 100 indicators in ISO 37120 to all of the 17 UN SDGs, showing how cities across the world - and data to measure their progress - are pivotal to the success of the UN SDGs.

The WCCD and Global Cities Institute are currently leading the development of two new standards for cities: ISO 37122: Indicators for Smart Cities and ISO 37123: Indicators for Resilient Cities. Together, ISO 37120, ISO 37122, and ISO 37123 provide a “family of standards” to not only guide cities across the world in their development, but also to bolster the work of the private sector in leading innovation for sustainable, smart, resilient cities