The Finnish city of Lahti started its year as European Green Capital 2021 with an online Opening Ceremony on 15 January that included the President of the Republic of Finland, Mr Sauli Niinistö, and EU Commissioner for the Environment, Oceans and Fisheries Mr Virginijus Sinkevičius.
The European Green Capital designation is awarded by the European Commission following a stringent international competition. Lahti is the 12th European Green Capital and it follows other recent title holders such as Stockholm, Hamburg, Copenhagen, Oslo and Lisbon.
What makes Lahti a European Green Capital
The awarding of the 2021 European Green Capital Award to Lahti was a unanimous decision taken by the international Jury in 2019 following an international competition.
Lahti performed strongly across all (12) environmental thematic areas covered by the award, most notably in air quality, waste, green growth & eco-innovation and governance. In particular, Lahti’s air quality plan has made the city a pioneer in air quality improvements since the plan was set out in 1997. Since then, the city has seen a major drop in emissions. The action plan aimed to reduce air pollution from road traffic; and implement thorough air quality monitoring. Complementing national and European Union regulations, Lahti has also implemented its own additional local air quality regulations. As a result of its efforts, Lahti has recorded excellent air quality data.
Lahti impressed the Awards Jury members with its understanding of the urgency of the global climate crisis as demonstrated through its strong environmental commitments and accelerated action towards becoming carbon neutral by 2025. This ambitious goal is 10 years ahead of Finland’s national 2035 target, and 25 years ahead of the EU 2050 vision.
Lahti is a growing, vibrant city of 120,000 inhabitants. Lahti is Finland’s eighth largest city by population and the capital of the Päijät-Häme region.
It combines the best of both worlds: magnificent lake scenery, diverse nature and originality of a small city, with bold climate action, energy solutions and green business.
Lahti is internationally known as a winter sports city, a culture hot spot and is famous for its design knowledge.
Historically, Lahti has always been an important trade route and marketplace as it is nestled in between two of Europe’s major cities; Finland’s capital city Helsinki and Russia’s St. Petersburg.
For more information check: https://ec.europa.eu/environment/europeangreencapital/news/Lahti_European_Green_Capital_2021.html