The Sustainable Cities Index

The latest edition of the Arcadis Sustainable Cities Index championed a new vision of city success, redefining prosperity to incorporate people and planet as well as profit.


Man Bites Dog invented the first-of-its-kind Sustainable Cities Index in 2015: a pioneering thought-leadership campaign that propelled the specialist topic of urban sustainability onto the mainstream news and business agenda. In 2022, with sustainability now a crowded market, Arcadis challenged us to refresh this visionary Index to help the firm retain its market-leading position and reignite the urban sustainability agenda at a time when economic pressures (from pandemic-recovery to conflict-impacts) were curtailing momentum and investment.

As leaders increasingly question whether GDP is an adequate measure of country performance, Man Bites Dog identified the opportunity for Arcadis to champion a new vision of a thriving city, redefining prosperity to incorporate people and planet as well as profit.  

We gave the 2022 edition the theme of ‘Prosperity Beyond Profit’, demonstrating that sustainability and prosperity have aligned and are now one and the same. Although prosperity historically meant economic productivity, tomorrow’s prosperous cities are those that are looking beyond financial performance to the health of their natural environment and their citizens’ quality of life. 


Man Bites Dog reinvented the Sustainable Cities Index to incorporate a range of novel indicators (economic and crowdsourced), covering 51 sustainability-metrics. We used these metrics to rank 100 global cities – covering 47 countries – overall and by people, planet and profit. The 2022 edition brought together developed and emerging market cities for the first time. This enabled deep city insights, peer comparisons, learnings and identification of areas for city improvement.

We launched the Sustainable Cities Index 2022 in 15 countries with a suite of content assets, including a highly visual digital report, video and interactive tool to compare city performance. 

Tailored data and expert insights for 100 cities enabled Arcadis sales teams to go to market via in-market events and conferences, starting in June with three launch events in key Australian cities. The data has also informed follow-up content, such as in-depth podcasts exploring stand-out cities. 

Operating in the most prosperous cities in the world, Arcadis is using the Sustainable Cities Index as a key tool in its mission to share knowledge between cities – delivered through in-country launch events and in partnership with the UN Habitat’s World Urban Forum.

pieces of media coverage
in over 50 countries
million coverage views
campaign microsite visits
Marketing qualified leads

B2B Marketing Awards 2022

Best International Campaign

CIPR PRide Awards 2023

Silver: Best Corporate and Business Communications Campaign
Silver: Best Environmental Campaign

PRWeek Global Awards 2023

Highly Commended: Best Global Content

B2B Marketing Elevation Awards USA 2023

Silver: Best Brand Initiative
Bronze: Best Thought Leadership Program

PRCA Dare Awards 2023

Highly Commended: B2B Award


This campaign reignited the urban sustainability debate in 100 cities across the world. Our 2022 revamp enabled the Sustainable Cities Index to reclaim its position as the seminal urban sustainability index, amplifying Arcadis’s thought-leadership position and generating international speaker opportunities for Global Cities Director, John Batten.

The Sustainable Cities Index 2022 balances commercial relevance with globally relevant cross-audience insights, reaching decision-makers through high-profile national media, key property sector and sustainability media and capturing imagination through mainstream/consumer media. 

Since its June launch, the campaign has secured over 800 pieces of coverage in over 50 countries, with an estimated reach of 450M.


High-profile hits range from international FT publications to Australia’s Daily Telegraph to Time Out magazine. This was supported by strong trade coverage across the property media (e.g. The Urban Developer and Construction News) as well as within the sustainability community (e.g. Green Matters and The Green Review). The campaign microsite has been visited by more than 21,000 people with a high average dwell time of almost four minutes. 

The Sustainable Cities Index remains the primary sales tool for Arcadis’s urban sustainability services and contributes strongly to the firm’s Global Cities Program, which works with clients on sustainable solutions in cities around the world. The 2022 Index generated more than 3,000 marketing-qualified leads.

“Man Bites Dog helped establish Arcadis as the leading authority on urban sustainability, and has partnered closely with us to evolve that natural authority and keep us at the forefront of this critical priority for businesses, cities and their citizens. This year’s Index delivered a powerful message that prosperity and sustainability can no longer exist independently - 2022 is the year that prosperity and sustainability align. The Index has a truly global impact, igniting conversations with top decision-makers and positioning Arcadis as a leading voice on city sustainability.”
John Batten, ‎Global Cities Director, Arcadis

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