Mark Watts

Executive Director, C40 Cities

Mark has served as Executive Director of C40 Cities since December 2013. Mark’s aim as Executive Director is to ensure C40 is equally focused on science-based climate action and political leadership for climate justice. C40 has grown dramatically in scope and ambition under Mark’s tenure and now represents nearly 100 of the world’s leading cities, across 50 countries, and around 700 million residents. As of 2022, C40 employs nearly 300 staff across offices in London, New York, Oslo, Copenhagen, Beijing, Rio De Janeiro, Singapore and Johannesburg and other locations across six continents.

During his time as Executive Director, Mark has ensured that C40 leads the way in bold climate action by being amongst the first organisations to adopt 1.5°C and halving global emissions by 2030 as its principal targets. Mark’s emphasis on increasing coalition building with civil movements, unions, business and youth climate leaders has expanded C40’s influence and helped to deliver initiatives such as Cities Race to Zero, a programme which supports inclusive climate action in line with the goals of the Paris Agreement, now with over 1,000 city and local government signatories, making it the largest and most ambitious set of climate commitments in history.

Prior to joining C40 Cities, Mark was a director at pioneering engineering and design firm, Arup; and previous to that position, he was a senior adviser to the Mayor of London, in which role the London Evening Standard described him as “the intellectual force behind Ken Livingstone’s drive to make London a leading light of the battle against global warming”. As Executive Director of C40 Cities, Mark reports to the C40 Chairperson and Mayor of London, Sadiq Khan, and the C40 Board President, Michael R. Bloomberg. Mark is a member of the board of P4G.

Outside of work, Mark can usually be found running up a mountain, steering a canal boat, or enthusiastically proclaiming the discovery of a great new band.

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