Wednesday, March 04, 2009

Environment: How Stockholm won "Green Capital" award

Stockholm: with much of it being waterways and 30% parks and green spaces, it has large "lungs"

Source: European Parliament

Car tolls and cleaning up the water are just two things that Stockholm city council has done in recent years to improve the quality of life. A few days ago it became the European "Green Capital" for 2010, a European Commission award to encourage green practices and identify where improvements can be made. We asked two Swedish MEPs about the capital city of their home country.

For Social Democrat Inger Segelström "it is an important prize to reward environmentally friendly initiatives, which also raise awareness across Europe on what kind of initiatives other cities are taking."

Christofer Fjellner for the centre right EPP-ED group in Parliament said, "more than half of the world's population lives in cities today and inspiring examples on how urbanisation goes hand-in-hand with the vision of sustainable prosperity is very important. The Green Capital Award must therefore not only be about awarding a winner, but also inspiring others."
Why did Stockholm win this award?

Stockholm beat off opposition from scores of other cities to win the award and we wondered about the key to its success.

For Ms Segelström "the cleaning of Stockholm's water and the introduction of car tolls to reduce the congestion in the city are some of the projects which have been really successful."

Mr Fjellner said: "It is important to recognize that our cities are not only the buildings, the infrastructure and the people living there, but also the surrounding environment. Stockholm has done this by integrating environmental aspects in every step of the administration."

Will it change anything for Stockholm?

On the question of what, if any, change this award will bring, Mr Fjellner said, I sincerely hope that it is a genuine concern for the environment that inspires the Stockholmers, rather than this award, but even so it matters. Once you reach the top you want to stay there. You cannot lower your obligations."

Ms Segelström is also focused on the future: "We will continue to take new environmentally friendly initiatives and work hard to hand over a greener city for the next generation."

There were 35 candidate cities for the award. They were whittled down to 8 finalists and 2 cities were awarded the Green Capital award for 2009 and 2010. Hamburg will be 2011's Green Capital.
Published by Mike Hitchen, Mike Hitchen Consulting
Putting principles before profits