The City of Lappeenranta has reached the finals in the competition for the greenest city in Europe, or the 2021 European Green Leaf Award. Lappeenranta was among the finalists last year as well, but did not win. Now the city will be able to pursue the title once again in the finals to be held in Lisbon at the turn of September–October.
The European Green Leaf Award is an annual competition organised by the European Commission for cities of less than 100,000 residents with exemplary and progressive climate policy and actions. In this year’s finals, Lappeenranta will be competing with Elsinore (Denmark), Gabrovo (Bulgaria), Nyborg (Denmark) and Ringkøbing-Skjern (Denmark).
Ilkka Räsänen, Environmental Director at the City of Lappeenranta, is pleased that the city reached the finals yet again and got a chance to win the competition.
− It is great that, according to the jury’s assessment, we deserve to be in the finals again in this high-level competition, especially with a record number of participants now involved. It shows that what we are doing is appreciated.
Lappeenranta has invested in succeeding in the competition even more during the past winter. This work has been facilitated by the fact that the city’s own strategy is expediting climate actions and communication about them. Last year’s competition also taught the city to prepare for it in a different way, says Räsänen.
− We are now more confident in this competition, as our climate actions have expanded and more information about this has been communicated to the world. A good example of this is the international climate seminar we organised in Brussels at the beginning of March.
The city’s climate actions have progressed over the past year especially in the real estate and energy efficiency sectors. Measures include the development of calculation tools for energy efficiency investments and the utilisation of a virtual power plant in the city’s buildings.
In addition, a new biogas plant is almost ready for operation and the recycling rate of waste rose to 100% last year. The city’s new climate programme for the next ten years is also nearing completion at a good pace. Residents have been strongly involved in its preparation with various themed workshops, for example, in the field of sustainable mobility.
The winner of the 2021 Green Leaf Award, to be revealed in the autumn, will have the same victory year as Lahti, the winner of the title in the 2021 European Green Capital Award competition for larger cities. Lahti will be responsible for organising the international competition next year. Lappeenranta would like to be the winner in its own category in the same year as Lahti, as both cities would benefit from the power of cooperation in organising events, for example.
“We have the same goal and partly different strengths with Lahti. The victory year would certainly be tremendous and impressive through our cooperation”, says Räsänen.
City of Lappeenranta
Ilkka Räsänen, Environmental Director
tel. +358 40 081 5284, ilkka.rasanen(at)lappeenranta.fi