Sadiq Khan will travel to New York tomorrow to take part in a United Nations (UN) summit on climate change.
The London mayor has said that he will use the trip as an opportunity to “bang the drum for London” as “the perfect destination for businesses to invest in and tourists to visit”.
City Hall said that “high-level business meetings” have been scheduled between the mayor and senior leaders from global companies, including Google, Uber, Microsoft, PepsiCo and Estee Lauder.
“We’ve had a great summer bouncing back from the pandemic, but we can’t rest on our laurels,” Mr Khan told the Local Democracy Reporting Service.
He added: “The record success this summer was on the back of our investment in ‘Let’s do London’ [City Hall’s campaign promoting the capital as a cultural and events hub], and the previous visits to North America.
“We need to encourage foreign direct investment in London. The good news is Americans love London, so we’ll be meeting with CEOs, leading businesses from America, investors – as well as responding to an invitation from the UN secretary general [António Guterres], to address a summit taking place in the UN.”
The Climate Ambition Summit at which Mr Khan will speak will happen during the UN’s General Assembly.
“Cities have been leading the way, both in tackling both the climate emergency and also air pollution,” the mayor said.
“To be fair, we’re responsible for a lot of the problems. Three quarters of carbon emissions have come from cities – we’ve got to play our role.
“But whereas countries have been delaying taking action, cities are doing taking action.”
Asked whether it was consistent to fly 7,000 miles while warning of the dangers of climate change, he said: “Most of my conversations with colleagues overseas are done virtually – on Zoom or [Microsoft] Teams or on the phone. Only in exceptional circumstances do we do stuff in person…
“It’s really important, where you can, not to travel those long distances. But where you can’t, you’ve got to recognise you’ve got to do so – whether it’s the prime minister going to the G20, or me banging the drum for London in New York.”
Asked how many times he’s flown so far this year, he said: “I went on holiday with my family this summer, and I’ll be going to New York.”
Mr Khan will also attend an Earthshot Summit alongside HRH Prince William and former New York mayor Mike Bloomberg.
In addition, he will speak at a business dinner focussed on sustainable development goals alongside Mary Robinson, the former Irish president and ex-UN high commissioner for Human Rights.
The mayor’s visit takes place as data from fDi Markets shows that London is the leading location globally for US businesses looking to expand overseas.
According to City Hall, foreign investment from New York to London has in the last decade accounted for capital investment of £3.3bn and created more than 18,700 new jobs.
The number of visitors from the US is meanwhile thought to be almost back to pre-pandemic levels.