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    Posted August 25, 2014 by
    Brussels, Belgium

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    Copenhagen wins European Green Capital 2014 award thanks to eco-start-ups and the Dome of Visions. Bristol is the 2015 winner.


    Copenhagen is this year winner of the European Green Capital award. The capital intends to be carbon-neutral by 2025, and plans to have half of its citizens cycling to their place of work or education by 2015. Surrounding cities have also been involved in ‘Sharing Copenhagen’ as well as cities from Sweden. Bristol is the 2015 winner and has the ambition of becoming a European hub for low-carbon industry. It will be providing live lab conferences from its innovation lab and its tagline ‘Laboratory for Change’ is based on innovation, learning and social media.

    During the last 6 months the Danish capital established more than 90 partnerships in relation to “Sharing Copenhagen”, spanning from some of the biggest Danish companies to small NGOs, with initiatives such as urban farming with the open source project Tagtomat, which translates as “roof- tomato”; in this project people were hired to grow vegetables and plants on the roof of a garbage shelter with “Self Watering Containers” made out of recycled materials.

    Casper Harboe, Programme Director of “Sharing Copenhagen” during Green Week conference stresses the importance of social and eco-start-ups:

    We have found interesting new ways of direct cooperation with small green and social economic start-ups in our city. We have found that this business segment supports a multitude of goals, strategies and visions that we have in Copenhagen, being climate, environment, growth or social considerations. These are new generations of value driven businesses that directly contribute to the healthy and attractive development of our city. In reality it means that when we spend money and for now primarily on events, we continuously choose low carbon companies, the catering option that uses less read meat and more vegetables, the restaurant that employs people with special and social needs, the transporter that uses smoke and electricity instead of diesel or the venue that has the most innovative, courageous and inspiring set up and I see you do the same here (in Brussels) and that is very nice. We find that this approach generates value for the city and the process also develops these new start-up businesses. We are discovering that this approach also helps us work across internationally in terms of professional boundaries and very complex cities administration.

    Copenhagen is also establishing “The European Green Capital Network” a new city network, for finalist cities of the award, created to share knowledge and solutions on green practises and drive the urban environmental agenda forward. During the award, it has also been mentioned at Green Week that in the network it might be discussed the possibility for green capital cities to find partners in developing countries.

    Karl Falkenberg, Director General of the Environment of the European Commission, also said at Green Week that India has been trying to set up an Indian Green Capital scheme, and the idea of making the award global has been previously discussed at Rio+20: “The major of Vitoria-Gasteiz during the year of Vitoria-Gasteiz, has been talking at Rio for example with the 40 largest cities in the world to see whether this European idea of an award could be replicated, exported, used for other city structures more globally; it would be a nice idea to have a competition where you would have a European, Indian, Chinese, African, Latin American… green capital and eventually have a planetary Green Capital. My focus is still very much on Europe, I would like to develop this European Green Capital Awards to its full blossom and recognition in Europe.”

    Casper Harboe, explains the meaning of “Sharing Copenhagen”: “We have accomplished significant changes in our city, changes to the way we produce energy, changes to the way we transport ourselves and changes of habits in our everyday life. On the other hand we have been very much aware that other cities throughout Europe have developed sustainable solutions from waste management in Vienna to noise reduction in Bristol. This is also the reason why the headline for our European Green Capital this year is “Sharing Copenhagen”, sharing not only our solutions but invite all the European cities and the rest of the cities around the world to come to Copenhagen to share ideas and enforce on how to move onto a green agenda. That is why in “Sharing Copenhagen” we would like to walk the talk.” There have been already more than 300 activities throughout the year and cities, international and local businesses, start-ups, knowledge institutions, and citizens, are invited to join in the conversation at these events, conferences and guided tours focusing on 5 themes: The Good City Life of the Future, Resources and Sustainable Lifestyle, The Blue and Green City, Green Mobility and Climate and Green Transformation.” Great importance is given to citizens who get involved in knowing and sharing green solutions, attending initiatives above mentioned, going on “green boat” trips Casper Harboe shared in the video and having fun at festivals such as the biggest harvest feast in September called “E-Copenhagen” where local producers are asked to bring food to help boosting their small enterprises. The European Green Capital 2014 award ceremony took place in Copenhagen at the Dome of Visions, a 100 per cent recyclable sustainable building.

    The European Green Capital Award was agreed at a 2006 meeting in Tallinn, Estonia, where 15 European cities and the Association of Estonian cities signed a joint Memorandum of Understanding to establish the award being aware that cities are where 2/3 or 70% of the population around Europe now live. The winners so far are: Stockholm 2010, Hamburg 2011, Vitoria-Gasteiz 2012, Nantes 2013, Copenhagen 2014, Bristol 2015 and Ljubljana 2016.

    The 8th edition of The European Green Capital Award 2017 is open to any city with over 100 thousand inhabitants based in the EU Member States, Candidate Countries (Republic of Macedonia, Iceland, Montenegro, Serbia, and Turkey), Liechtenstein, Norway and Switzerland. The deadline for applications is 20 October 2014 and the winners will be announced in June 2015.  The full application process is facilitated by the Green Capital Secretariat, which is run by the Irish company RPS.

    As the European flag has twelve yellow stars, hopeful cities seeking victory are assessed on the basis of twelve environmental indicators:

    Climate change: mitigation and adaptation

    Local transport

    Green urban areas incorporating sustainable land use

    Nature and biodiversity

    Ambient air quality

    Quality of the acoustic environment

    Waste production and management

    Water management

    Waste water treatment

    Eco innovation and sustainable employment

    Energy performance

    Integrated environmental management

    Video with subtitles.

                                                                                                                             Silvia Lombardo.

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