Istanbul at sunset

How sustainable city projects can have a ripple effect beyond borders

In the first episode of the City Citizen podcast, Asli Pasinli, CEO of the World Wildlife Fund (WWF) in Turkey, shares her passion for urban sustainability.

In this first episode, Asli Pasinli, CEO of the World Wildlife Fund (WWF) in Turkey and Mehmet Gulez, (former) EY Turkey Innovation and Markets Leader, share their insights on how cities can become more sustainable places to live and work, in discussion with Meghan Mills, EY Global Strategy and Operations Leader, Government and Public Sector.

Asli was born and raised in Izmir, in the south of Turkey, but has spent most of her life in the vibrant Bosphorus city of Istanbul, home to 15 million people. Asli tells us how the WWF motto is to build a future where humans live in harmony with nature, echoing ideology from an old Turkish saying, “you cannot build happiness on someone else's misery.”

She shares her thoughts on the 15-minute city concept, technology and innovation as catalysts for change and the value of learning from other cities to accelerate climate transformation.

The conversation continues with a focus on the growing need for cities to create diverse ecosystems – involving startups, academia, citizens and the private sector – to solve the climate crisis. An example of this is explored through a project designed to tackle the business model problem of recycling in Turkish cities, one which also affects inclusiveness in the community, wealth distribution and economic sustainability.

Key takeaways:

  • For too long, we have been trying to build cities at the expense of nature. A new approach is required.
  • Foster unusual partnerships and ecosystems to unleash the innovation required to solve our most pressing climate challenges.
  • Embrace the concept of the 15-minute city, enabling communities to be built where people can reach all their needs within a 15-minute bike ride.

Since this podcast was recorded, Mehmet has become an EY alumni.

You can also listen to this podcast on Amazon MusicApple Podcast and Spotify.

If you’d like to read more, a full text transcript of this podcast is available. 


Episode 1


15m 45s