The city solutions inspiring global climate action

Last month we attended the inaugural Climathon Global Awards, which took place at the ChangeNOW summit in Paris, an event held to celebrate and support the changemakers who are challenging the status quo to inspire global climate action.

Organised by EIT Climate-KIC in partnership with Crowther Labs, the aim of Climathon Global Awards is to catalyse systemic change for climate action, through citizens and cities. The five nominees of the Cities Award were Penang, Khartoum, Salvador, Miami and Dublin.

Cities’ innovative solutions ranged from incorporating nature to prevent flooding and creating sustainable circular systems, to documenting local climate knowledge. The winner, Penang, aims to use nature-based solutions to mitigate, and adapt to, the effects of flooding and extreme temperatures that the city faces.

The Citizens Award solutions were the product of a 24-hour hackathon that took place in October 2019. Ideas from this track included a system to support zero-waste packaging shops, urban agriculture on city roofs and a scheme encouraging carpooling.

The winning citizen project was Woola, from Tallinn in Estonia, which creates sustainable packaging products to support a circular economy.


Professor Tom Crowther of the Crowther Lab presented the Cities Award to Penang. The city project will receive funding and expert support to turn the idea into reality.

The Crowther Lab, an interdisciplinary research group which aims to generate understanding of ecological systems to address climate change, provided advice to the participants. Other judges included Silvia Marcon, Head of C40 Women4Climate, an initiative which supports the next generation of female climate leaders; John Vidal, leading environmental journalist; Celia Blauel, Deputy Mayor of Paris for the environment; and Ben Smith, Director of Climate Change at Arup and Trustee of the National Park City foundation.


Climate action is urgently needed in cities. The Crowther Lab’s research reveals that 77% of cities around the world will experience a striking change of climate conditions over the next 30 years. Crowther Lab has also shown the emission reduction benefits of strategic tree reforestation, and further research revealed the need for nature-based solutions to combat the ‘urban heat island’ effect in cities. With 70% of the world’s population expected to live in cities by 2050, it is clear innovative solutions are needed now.


Greenhouse PR strategically supported the Cities Awards campaign, a track of the Global Climathon Awards, from start to finish. We showcased Crowther Lab’s research on nature restoration and cities to explain why cities are so important in the fight against climate change and drive city-led action.

Our strategic media and social media plan resulted in 400 Knowledge Pack downloads, 33 city applications from across the globe and engagement from top-tier organisations. The Greenhouse team ran Crowther Lab’s social media channels to engage users and promote the Cities Awards and Crowther Lab’s research.

We also supported EIT Climate-KIC to secure media coverage of the Global Climathon Day hackathon in November 2019. We ran social media on the day, live tweeting to showcase climate innovation in cities globally. Op-eds secured in Reuters and various other high-profile outlets including EU Today, detailed the role cities play in the climate crisis. Quotes from sector influencers including Christiana Figueres and Inger Anderson helped expand the reach of Climathon. This year there were over 6,500 participants from over 145 cities across the world – the largest number in Climathon history.

Greenhouse PR CEO, Anna Guyer, provided expert communications advice to the city nominees during the bootcamp day at the changeNOW summit, to help them develop their climate action story and narratives in preparation for the final.

It was inspiring to be involved in the Global Climathon Awards, from start to finish, and see cities and citizens – part of a community of changemakers – showcase pioneering projects that will drive real change. Let’s continue to transform our cities as they play an increasingly crucial role in the global climate crisis.


Greenhouse PR works with organisations and leaders who are pioneering climate action. Whether it’s energy, food, fashion, finance or farming, if you’ve got a great story and need our help to tell it, get in touch with the Greenhouse team on 0117 214 1250 or email