The consequences of climate change urges researchers to investigate the issues of environmental sustainability, and the definition of policies for reducing greenhouse gas emissions (GHG) has become more urgent. In this context, urban areas play a significant role since here, economic, productive and social activities are concentrated and, therefore, the majority of the GHG emissions are produced. For these reasons, many cities worldwide are making big efforts to improve their level of environmental sustainability, but is this a worthy investment in terms of territorial competitiveness? In the era of globalization, indeed, countries, regions and cities cannot underestimate the competition against each other to attract firms, people and skills. Therefore, the aim of this paper is to identify the type of relationship between environmental sustainability and territorial competitiveness at the city level in order to verify whether or not it is possible to positively affect competitiveness by investing on green initiatives.
The study measures the level of environmental sustainability and competitiveness of 103 Italian capital cities by constructing two composite indicators and it compares the two performances using a statistical approach, showing that being green also means being more competitive and this positive relationship increases proportionally with the population. In other words, strategies designed to make a city more environmentally sustainable positively affect its level of competitiveness, and this correlation is stron- ger for bigger cities.
composite indicators, environmental sustainability, Italian cities, territorial competitiveness
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