Gothenburg, Sweden’s second largest city, has become a model in developing sustainability for tourism. It was rewarded the title of the world’s most sustainable destination according to the Global Destination Sustainability Index 2016, 2017, 2018 and 2019. A positioning which was recently confirmed again by Lonely planet. The travel guide attributed to Gothenburg the title of world’s Best Sustainable City Stay for 2021.
Tourists would rather explore Gothenburg for its relaxed way of life, its atmosphere of a small metropolis rather than for its monuments. With its 600,000 inhabitants, Gothenburg is a metropolis on a human scale. But Gothenburg is also the kind of city that represents the future of a tourism that’s more respectful of its people, its environment and its urban development.
The title given to Gothenburg as the world’s most sustainable destination did not come about by chance. Lonely planet justified its choice, stressing that , “Gothenburg has held the top ranking in the Global Destinations Sustainability Index since 2016. With a regional climate target of being fossil-independent by 2030, Gothenburg was the first city in the world to issue Green Bonds to accelerate investments in climate-oriented solutions”.
Green transportation is already a reality
Achievements in sustainability are impressive: 97% of Gothenburg’s public transport runs on renewable energy per passenger-km, while 95% of its hotels are eco-certified, This makes the city the greenest of any in Europe for accommodation.
Looking at transportation issues, the city sets the example in Europe. In December, Gothenburg bus company Västtraffik put in operation close to 150 electric busses across 34 lines of its network. This was one of the largest rollouts of emission-free and silent buses to date in Europe. The network will be 100% electric before 2030.
All airport shuttle buses run on 100% biofuel produced from rapeseed. And bikes can be rented anywhere in the city. Since summer 2020, a municipal ride-sharing service is available. The “Styr and Stärr system offers 130 stations across town. For the ones who favour taxis, Taxi Göteborg’s fleet is made up of 90% low-emission vehicles.
MICE participants are advided to favour train when possible, although the international airport is certified to the highest level of the Airport Carbon Accreditation Scheme.
All restaurants connected to “Taste of Gothenburg” are environmentally certified or in the process of being environmentally certified while all meat served has to be organic.
Gothenburg is to be one of the most advanced cities of the world in addressing climate problems and by 2050 Gothenburg will have reduced greenhouse-gas emissions to a sustainable and equitable level. This level is currently interpreted as 1.9 tonnes of carbon dioxide equivalent per inhabitant per year.
MICE on the sustainable side
For MICE organisers, the convention bureau has a dedicated team helping minimising the footprint of activities and of the event. They advice how best to maximise resources.
To help choosing the best venues and event organiser, Gothenburg has published a “Guide to a green destination” with information, inspiration and examples of sustainable suppliers.
Choosing Gothenburg in 2021 could be perfect as the city this year celebrates its 400th anniversary. The COVID pandemic affected the organisation of the event which will now stretch over the next two years, until 2023. However, on June 4, the city will arrange a formal, historic celebration of the official anniversary. A major event, in which citizens of Gothenburg and visitors from all over the world can celebrate together is planned for 2023.
For this year, Gothenburg will still organise a couple of special events. Beside the official celebration on June 4th. An outdoor exhibition “Gothenburg Tells” will open, a large exhibition about Gothenburg in the 20th century will be on view at Gothenburg City Museum, a new bridge will be inaugurated, and the Jubilee Park is to be expanded.