The Sustainable Cities Index

B2B Marketing Awards

Best Use of Thought Leadership

CorpComms Awards

Best International Campaign

International Building Press Awards

Best Business Communications Campaign

The Sustainable Cities Index is an award-winning global thought leadership campaign that showcases Arcadis’ urban sustainability expertise, establishing the firm’s newly-unified brand globally, and opening the door to high-value C-Suite conversations. It remains Arcadis’ most commercially successful marketing communications campaign to date, and is now firmly established as the firm’s signature annual global campaign.


Following a series of acquisitions, multi-billion dollar design, engineering and consultancy firm Arcadis needed a clever, strategic idea that would help bring all of its companies together under its new global brand. Active in more than 70 countries, Arcadis was well-known in its Dutch homeland, but its growth by acquisition meant that it lacked brand awareness worldwide.

Arcadis had identified cities as offering a major opportunity for growth, and initiated a sales drive targeted at urban centres globally. It needed a signature campaign that would provide clarity on what the new integrated business stood for, put Arcadis on the map in every market, and generate conversations with the C-Suite, senior city planners, and policymakers.


Man Bites Dog identified Arcadis’ sustainability expertise as a key differentiator that would provide an opportunity for an integrated sustainable cities proposition.

To showcase Arcadis’ sustainability expertise and to enable conversations with clients and planning experts on a city-by-city basis, Man Bites Dog devised the Sustainable Cities Index (SCI). For the very first time, we assessed the performance of 50 cities worldwide in relation to 20 separate economic indicators relating to people, planet and profit, to create an indicative ranking, providing an opportunity for expert insight from Arcadis consultants across the world.

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Man Bites Dog developed a compelling global narrative from the SCI data – telling the story in an impactful, globally relevant way. We generated worldwide appeal by proving that global cities fail to balance the three pillars of sustainability – prioritising profit and planet over the needs of people – and brought this to life through multimedia content and a united visual identity.  

We created shareable, interactive content to support the campaign. The interactive microsite hosted a white paper, an infographic, a videographic, and a digital tool that allowed developers, planners, and investors to explore the data in detail and create city-by-city comparisons.

For the first time, the firm’s public relations, marketing and business development teams were brought together, and the company’s fee-earners took the research findings to their clients as the basis for profitable conversations. The Man Bites Dog team provided Arcadis’ local marketers and urban development team leaders worldwide with collateral to support direct marketing activity, and delivered a full-scale global press and social media launch.


The Sustainable Cities Index remains Arcadis’ most commercially successful campaign to date. It was so popular with consultants, clients, prospects and the Arcadis leadership team that the Index is now established as the firm’s signature annual campaign, focusing on a new theme each year.

In its first year, the campaign generated widespread international top-tier media coverage, attracted unprecedented online interaction, and boosted the company’s sales pipeline by more than $24 million. Subsequent years have brought continued commercial success.

The SCI firmly established a differentiated identity for the Arcadis brand, and the consultancy is now seen as leading the field of urban sustainability. In its first year the campaign won Best Use of Thought Leadership at the B2B Marketing awards, Best Business Communications at the International Building Press Awards and Best International Campaign at the CorpComms awards.