Sustainable Cities of UBC recognized by CDP Europe
The UBC member cities Turku, Lahti, and Malmö are taking three times as many mitigation and adaptation measures as non-A-list cities to become climate neutral before the common EU timeframe and have received the highest award from CDP for their efforts.
Ambitious and systematic climate work in Turku
The City of Turku has been recognized as one of the leading climate cities for the fourth time, thanks to its ambitious and systematic climate work. The city is committed to long-term climate work, and its efforts have been elevated through reporting to CDP's global environmental information system since 2014. The city of Turku is set to reduce GHG by 90% by 2029 compared to the base year 1990, by the time Turku will become climate neutral, and thereafter would work to be climate positive. Turku has shown strong results by achieving the target of a 50% reduction already by 2020 and is on the way to the intermediate target of a 75% reduction by the year 2025. In 2021, 75% of the energy produced was produced using renewable energy sources. The share of renewable energy of electricity and heat sold by Turku Energia will be at least 95 % in 2025.
The City of Turku is actively involved in the work of the Union of the Baltic Cities network and hosts its Sustainable Cities Commission. Turku receives support through the global network of sustainable cities, ICLEI, to set and achieve more ambitious climate targets. The city's climate team provides information and support for climate work for companies in the region.
The Mayor of Turku Minna Arve has been representing the city at the CDP Europe Awards 2023, she received the award, and was interviewed by Euronews.
“Investors take a look in which kind of cities they want to invest," says Mayor Arve. "And if the city wants to invest in the future together with the businesses, that's a great deal. And for the citizens, you have to, of course, think about how and why that is good for them as well. It's about cleaner air. It's about better transportation. It's about, in our case, a cleaner harbour and our archipelago."
"You have to speak the same language. If you are just dealing with issues on the high level, then you may not connect with other people so well. But in your cities you are really close to your residents. You have accountability and then you have the words to discuss why this is important."
— Minna Arve
Green electricity in Lahti, the first European Green Capital in Finland
The City of Lahti has committed to becoming carbon neutral by 2025, and it aims to become one of the world's most sustainable cities. Lahti has set out an action plan, which includes energy efficiency measures, renewable energy use, and sustainable transport solutions.
The city of Lahti from 2020 onwards uses only green electricity. Solar panels have been put up i.a. Lahti Sports Centre. Lahti Energy has put into operation the new biomass heat plant since 2020 and electricity production will also be almost completely fossil-free in the near years. Lahti is procuring low or no emissions for its bus fleet. In 2022, more than 50% of the fleet ran on alternative fuels and would be completely low-emission only by 2030. Lahti is currently testing energy retrofitting for 10 buildings and would choose the most cost-efficient ways to make emission reductions. Lahti is also striving to makeshift from oil heating to more sustainable energy choices in individual households. The aim is to reach 500 households switching to heat pumps. Lahti procurement program states all city-owned vehicles should be low-emission by the year 2035.
The city has also been awarded the title of the European Green Capital 2021 as the first city in Finland to receive this title.
600 measures to make Malmö climate-neutral
The City of Malmö aims to become climate neutral by 2030, and it has developed an action plan with over 600 measures to achieve this. The measures include using renewable energy, increasing energy efficiency, and reducing the use of fossil fuels. The environmental program states that Malmö should rely on 100% renewable or recycled energy by 2030. The energy used for electricity, heat and transport in Malmö must then come from renewable energy sources or from systems that use recycled energy that would otherwise have been wasted. Since 2020, the district heating is 100% renewable.
In 2018 Malmö approved and implemented the environmental vehicle strategy according to which 95% of the vehicles shall be powered by biogas, hydrogen, electricity (at least 15%) or hybrid technology by 2020. In 2018, Malmö has carried out a study according to which the city should aim for 15% solar energy for heat and electricity in municipality properties.
Malmö developed Sweden's first local roadmap for a climate-neutral construction and civil engineering sector by 2030. Each connected developer has promised to start construction on at least one climate-neutral construction project by 2025 in Malmö's geography. The city has also developed a comprehensive transport plan to promote sustainable mobility, such as cycling and public transport.
Malmö has been recognized for its efforts and was named one of the most sustainable cities in Europe by the CDP.
Competitive advantage of the climate work
The cities have recognized that ambitious and systematic climate work is a clear competitive advantage for the regions because sustainable and green solutions are the future in every industry. They have also emphasized the need to mobilize the private sector to achieve carbon neutrality and provide tax benefits to homeowners who adopt measures to substitute the fuels used to heat their homes and for the energy they consume.