This panel discussion was arranged in celebration of the Nordic Green to Scale for Cities and Communities report which showcases successful green city solutions implemented across five Nordic countries. By making existing scalable climate solutions known we hope this report can strengthen Nordic leadership in climate action and support a better and wider use of existing climate solutions, thereby helping cities implement their climate pledges.
Funded by the Nordic Council of Ministers, the Nordic Green to Scale for Cities and Communities project shows how far emissions can be reduced if already existing solutions were implemented more widely across Nordic countries. It presents an analysis of co-benefits, enablers and barriers, and policy recommendations.
We were delighted to host Saara Vauramo Program Director of Lahti Green Capital 2021, Mariko Landström Climate Solutions Specialist from Sitra, Josephine Nellerup, Urban Strategist at Malmö Stad, Anna Denell, Sustainability Director at Vasakronan, and Karin André, Research Fellow at SEI.
The project Green to Scale has been highlighting the potential of scaling up existing climate solutions since 2015. Starting by looking at 17 solutions from five different sectors, both from the global North and South, and later in 2016 focusing on 15 Nordic solutions ranging from wind power to electric vehicles.
Since 2016, the Nordic Green to Scale project led by Sitra, the Finnish Innovation Fund, has studied climate solutions and their impacts on communities and the environment. In its latest phase – Nordic Green to Scale for Cities – the project focuses on climate solutions in Nordic cities and municipalities. With around 70% of global CO2 emissions coming from cities, cities can be major game changers and drivers of ambitious climate action.
The Report Launch
The event commenced with a welcome and introduction from Oliver Johnson, Head of Unit Climate, Energy and Society, SEI, who reiterated the importance of events like these in connecting different actors and raising awareness of existing climate solutions already available.
Mariko Landström, Climate Specialist at Sitra highlighted the key findings of the Nordic green to Scale for Cities and Communities report. She emphasized that there are a range of existing climate solutions in Nordic countries that bring savings in terms of both emissions and costs, with more and more being developed. Not only do these solutions demonstrate Nordic leadership in climate action but they further bring co-benefits to cities and users. Strikingly, Mariko illustrated that the implementation of the 14 solutions in the report would reduce emissions in Sweden by 13% of total emissions. It would further bring the equivalent of €80 million in savings!
A key message from the report is that with the support of national policy, local and regional action can make a big difference. The picture from the event shown below illustrates some of the policy options that can support success.
“The solutions exist. Now we need leadership.”
— Mariko Landström, Climate Specialist, Sitra
Representatives from Finland and Sweden presented the innovative work of their organizations on climate solutions.
Saara Vauramo, Programme Director for City of Lahti European Green Capital 2021 talked about the transformations made in Lahti, Finland as part of the Green Capital project. Building partnerships across sectors and organisations for the Green Capital has been key in developing workable local solutions.
Josephine Nellerup, Urban Strategist for Malmö Stad introduced the innovative work Malmö municipality is doing in the development of their Local Road-map to Climate Neutral Buildings, and stressed the importance of finding the courage to do things differently.
Anna Denell, Sustainability Director for Vasakronan, highlighted the work of one of the largest real estate companies in Sweden in making their buildings more sustainable. Vasakronan has reduced direct carbon emissions by 99% since 2006, and further aims to go climate neutral throughout the whole value chain.
Karin Andre, Research Fellow at SEI asked how we can effectively monitor and follow-up on the work being done in the implementation of solutions. Karin used her experience in analyzing enabling and constraining factors for adaptation among local and regional stakeholders in private and public sectors to offer insights into monitoring.
The panelists engaged in a inspirational and supportive debate on the implementation of climate solutions, all highlighting the importance of collaboration, sharing of best practice, and access to green finance in removing the barriers to scaling up solutions.
“Green finance is key!”
— Anna Denell, Sustainability Director at Vasakronan