Innovative collaborations accelerate Malmö's journey to climate neutrality

Innovative collaborations accelerate Malmö's journey to climate neutrality

cyclists in the city

Malmö, a leading city in sustainable development, has undertaken a determined path towards achieving carbon neutrality by 2030. With ambitious targets, agile roadmaps, and strategic partnerships, the city is not only focused on climate neutrality but also ensuring an inclusive, just and equitable climate transition.

Malmö has set an ambitious goal to become carbon neutral by 2030 and is a frontrunner leading the way to climate neutral cities in Europe. The key success factors in Malmö’s work, involve innovative forms of collaboration and working methods.

"In Malmö, we have reinvented our way of working with a horizontal climate transition office to maximise synergies within the organization and with other stakeholders."

"This allows for rapid deployment of solutions as well as an ability to learn and scale smart solutions across the organisation," says Jonas Kamleh, senior climate advisor at the city of Malmö.

The first phase in Malmö’s transition work has been based on emissions analyses to prioritize transition pathways that will have the greatest impact on the climate, along with providing additional societal benefits, such as increased employment opportunities and improved living standards for the city residents. Agile roadmaps are currently under development within seven prioritized transition areas to highlight necessary measures within each area.

"While we are on a positive trajectory in Malmö, the challenge of increasing the speed and intensity remains a significant hurdle", Jonas Kamleh continues.

Mobilizing stakeholders through shared understanding

Key takeaways from Malmö’s analyses show that Malmö can become climate positive by 2030 if, and only if, stakeholders at local, regional, national, and European level are engaged and work together on accelerating transformation. On a national level Malmö was one of the initiators to Viable cities. As part of the initiative, cities and authorities in Sweden have signed a joint climate agreement and agreed to take concrete actions to accelerate their climate transition.

Malmö has been selected for the EU-mission “100 climate neutral cities by 2030” as one of the frontrunners in Europe. Malmö is also one of 52 cities in the NetZeroCities Pilot cities program that started in May this year.

To mobilize stakeholders in Malmö, the city has initiated a local climate contract. So far, the contract has been signed by nearly 250 actors from a wide range of sectors. The actors will now make concrete efforts in line with Malmö's climate goals, e.g., try circular solutions, reduce food waste, and choose renewable energy.

One great example of local collaboration comes from the work with the waste management company Sysav, the producer of district heating in Malmö.

"Together, we have been establishing shared understanding of Malmö's greenhouse gas emissions and the proportion attributed to Sysav's facility. Sysav has now aligned its goals with Malmö’s and efforts are currently underway to reduce emissions through minimizing the use of fossil plastics in waste and by exploring Carbon Capture Storage (CCS)," says Jonas Kamleh.

The building and construction industry in Malmö, initiated and supported by the City of Malmö, has already devised a local roadmap for relevant actors in Malmö: LFM30 - The local roadmap for a climate-neutral building and construction sector in Malmö 2030. The initiative has mobilized over 200 stakeholders from the entire supply chain, with the aim of achieving a climate-neutral sector by 2030.

In the area of mobility the priorities are increasing electrification and further scale up public transport investment, as well as contribute to behavioral changes and active mobility. When it comes to mobility the disparity between local and national objectives and policies possesses a significant challenge.

Decisions at the national level to reduce the utilization of biofuels in petrol and diesel will lead to a sharp increase in emissions in Malmö and make it harder for us to achieve our climate goals. A conversation regarding the disconnect between goals is crucial if we are to reach net-zero cities by 2030, Jonas Kamleh explains.

aerial view on Malmö

Involving citizens – a key to success

By 2030, Malmö's consumption-based greenhouse gas emissions should be halved to 3.1 tonnes per person and per year. To achieve this goal, collaboration is essential with those living and working in Malmö. It is crucial to increase collaborative efforts in neighborhoods with high needs and low emissions, as well as in areas with high incomes and high emissions, with the aim of co-designing solutions that maintain a high quality of life while reducing emissions.

"This is undeniably an ambitious and complex goal, where citizen involvement is crucial. We need to better understand the citizens' needs and how we can meet them. For instance, how we interact with the civil society organisations in the best way," Jonas Kamleh says.

Malmö has a strong civil society with a significant drive amongst the citizens, which is a true strength and success.

"People want to be part of the transition and the solution, not just the problem. We all need to consider the climate goals and the journey as our collective responsibility. In Malmö, we have a clear stance - either we accomplish this together or not at all," Jonas Kamleh concludes.


Written by: Åsa Olsson, City of Malmö