European Green Capital

Lahti: How private-public partnerships have helped an industrial town to become the European Green Capital.

The Finnish city won the 2021 European Green Capital Award for its unprecedented journey from an industrial town to an inspiring example of a green city. As such, Lahti is the living example that public-private partnerships are a promising model for innovation and green growth.

The Green Capital Award is an initiative of the European Commission, which rewards cities and towns for their commitment to environmental sustainability. Public-private partnerships are a key to the success of the Green Capital competition, and so the Commission encourages European towns and cities partner up with businesses and think tanks to explore innovative solutions to Europe’s most pressing environmental challenges. As Lahti’s Major confirms, “Our success is the result of collaboration with universities, local businesses and the public to create solutions and services to pave the way towards a carbon-neutral society”.

The carbon trading app CityCAP is an example of such a partnership. As the first city in the world, Lahti introduced a personal carbon trading system for local residents. The app has been developed by a consortium of local SMEs and research institutes, and rewards citizens who decrease their own emissions from transportation and movement around the city. Low-carbon mobility is also important to the Lahti Pelicans, the city’s environmentally friendly ice-hockey team, which travels to training and games by public transport only.

Lahti has also witnessed an astonishing increase in investments. In recent years, the city and its consortium of companies have invested circa €160 million in renewable energy – that’s €1300 per citizen.

Lahti will be climate neutral by 2025 – 10 years ahead of Finland’s national target.

Image source: European Commission

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February 2nd, 2021 by Careen Becker