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Oslo – Green Capital 2019

Norwegian's capital has been leading the way in all things green, setting the standard for cities worldwide to follow. Fiona Shaw reports on Oslo's green credentials, from this year's Oslo Innovation Week...
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09.26.19
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Folk in Oslo often tell you that sustainability lies at the heart of its business eco-system. The country first grew its economy on the oil and gas industry – which has played a major role in financing its extensive welfare state – but has also been quick to respond to the challenges the sector poses and make sure that its future economy will flourish as reliance on fossil fuels decreases.

The city became the first in the world to set a climate budget in 2017, and 2019’s budget is its third. It shows measures both implemented and planned for Oslo to reach its climate targets and become a low-carbon city, setting an upper limit for how much greenhouse gas can be released.

Oslo’s groundbreaking climate budget  sets the benchmark for the city to achieve its CO2 emission reduction targets, driven by collaboration between the public and private sector. The city was awarded European Green Capital for 2019, and development support agency Oslo Business Region is leading the charge for change, with its declaration of four industry challenges.

“Combating climate change cannot be left to someone else, somewhere else, at another time. We need to act – here and now” says Raymond Johansen, Oslo’s governing mayor.

Released in tandem with the city’s regular municipal budget, the 2019 climate budget states, among other things, that the transportation of goods will be electrified, more construction sites will become fossil-free, and that the focus on an emission-free car park should be combined with a capacity increase of public transport.

Oslo Business Region raises awareness amongst the city’s business community on the need to meet targets set by the climate budget, helping businesses link in with the city’s long-term strategies.

It has appointed more than 30 European Green Capital ambassadors across a variety of sectors, and launched four industry challenges, directly relating to reduced CO2 emissions. It plans to have 150 businesses signed up to the challenges by 2019.

“The willingness to accept the challenge is key – no company is expected to solve the problem within a given time frame,” says Oslo Business Region’s Claire McAree. “They are about showing that there is a market for sustainable business practice.

Challenge 1: Emission free commercial transport

Your business will actively request and work for emission free transportation of goods and services. 

The city is targeting zero emission transport – and cargo bikes are a familiar site around the city.

Businesses signed up: ASKO, IKEA, HAYK, BOGBI, Construction City, Founder’s Institute

Challenge 2: Sustainable finance

Your business will request that your pension and/or insurance investments are pulled out of oil, coal and gas.

The city’s second challenge urges businesses setting up or renewing insurance, pensions and other finance products to ask their suppliers for ethically invested funds.

Businesses signed up: Trikks, The Factory, EGGS Design, Expology, Agera Venture

Challenge 3: Emission-free construction

Your business will actively work for our construction sites to be fossil free and emission free.

The construction sector is responsible for one fifth of emissions in fast-growing Oslo. The first emission-free construction site opened this month and OBR is urging private sector companies to request that their contractors uses emission-free machinery where possible.

Aspelin Ramm was the first business to accept the city’s emission-free construction challenge.

Challenge 4: Plastic manifesto

Your business will reduce plastic waste by replacing single-use plastics with environmentally friendly alternatives whilst actively challenging our suppliers to develop plastic free alternatives through innovative procurement. 

When Oslo was awarded Green Capital status, the first thing it did was employ a plastic coordinator. The plastic manifesto is designed to change peoples’ relationships with plastic and already has 30 private sector companies signed up.

Businesses signed up include : McDonald’s, Holzweiler, SATS, Empower, Antler, Mills, SoCentral, 657 Oslo, Katapult Ocean, Expology, Katapult Accelerator, Agera Venture, EGGS Design

We talk about the idea of small changes in each of the mag, talking to people about small changes everyone could make, to make the world more sustainable, friendly, connected or cleaner. What would yours be?

 

Photo by Jacek Dylag on Unsplash