Lahti: pioneering carbon neutrality in Finland
Lahti, a city in Finland, has made remarkable strides towards achieving carbon neutrality, with a 70% reduction in greenhouse gas emissions from 1990 levels. The city aims to become carbon neutral by 2025 and was named as the European Green Capital in 2021. Lahti has implemented innovative strategies across various sectors to create a sustainable urban environment, such as:
Sustainable transport: the city reduces car usage by building bike highways, expanding bike lanes, providing bike parking, and offering shared e-bikes. Lahti also tested an urban ski-sharing program and piloted a carbon trading app for residents, offering rewards for staying within a carbon budget.
Energy efficiency & renewable sources: efforts include retrofitting city-owned buildings for energy efficiency, utilising solar power, harnessing waste heat from wastewater treatment, and phasing out coal from the main power plant while exploring sustainable alternatives like biomass and waste-to-energy processes.
Circular economy & waste management: with a 99% household waste recycling rate, Lahti focuses on recycling materials and using the rest for energy. The city promotes waste repurposing initiatives among local companies.
Climate Campaigners app: the app unites residents against climate change by offering challenges for a sustainable lifestyle. Residents can contribute to Lahti's climate goals by engaging in playful yet impactful activities while sharing experiences with others.
Lahti's journey towards sustainable urban living showcases proactive, innovative strategies and strong citizen engagement. Going beyond carbon neutrality, the city now explores wider sustainability goals, such as reducing ecological footprint and embracing "nature positivity”.