Interview with Anastazia Kronberg
Head of Gothenburg Climate Partnership
The Gothenburg Climate Partnership (GCP) is a collaboration between trade and industry in the Gothenburg region and the City of Gothenburg that aims to actively reduce climate impact. Can you tell us a little more about the initiative, and how you help connect companies with suitable stakeholders at the local level?
The City of Gothenburg aims to have sustainable and equitable greenhouse gas emissions by 2050. In order to reach this ambitious target, emission reductions are also required in the private sector, which is beyond the direct authority of the city. The Gothenburg Climate Partnership is a long-term, strategic collaboration between the City of Gothenburg and the Gothenburg region's companies, actively working to reduce our carbon footprint and contribute to achieving the city's climate goals. Trade and industry in the Gothenburg Climate Partnership comprise the primary target group and we are basing our activities on the needs of the participating companies.
The Gothenburg Climate Partnership is an enabler and a neutral platform that brings together enterprises wishing to reduce their carbon footprint. Participants are from city administration and the business community, and sometimes organisations and academia too. The Gothenburg Climate Partnership ensures that it coordinates with other relevant programmes and initiatives within the city and region, and that there is also an opportunity to reflect activities internationally through connection to an international platform – the Greenhouse Gas Protocol. The Gothenburg Climate Partnership’s role is to assist with challenge identification, implementation of climate calculations and process management, as well as to provide support to projects.
Our approach is based on a challenge-focused way of working, with the first phase being challenge identification. In this phase, our role is to handle process management, facilitation and communication. The next phase is working group formation. During this start-up phase, we gather appropriate participants for the project group. They can be companies in the same or similar industries, universities and colleges, other organisations or municipal companies and departments. Once a challenge is identified, the Gothenburg Climate Partnership facilitates the development of a joint goal for the project's carbon footprint reduction and its contribution to the city's climate goals.
The goal is linked to their own emission reductions or to solutions that enable emission reductions in other sectors. With the goal in place, companies identify the main barriers to achieving it and then create a joint action plan to eliminate those barriers and scale up the solutions. The plan includes both the measures they want to take and policy requirements. An important task here for the Gothenburg Climate Partnership is to bring in the right participants in the city. There may even be some requirements directed towards the city, and the city must be prepared and willing to meet them. In addition, calculations of expected climate benefits are carried out through the Greenhouse Gas Protocol. Before the project is concluded, a follow-up is conducted, measuring the actual impact of the project and comparing it with our initial ambitions. We also assess the scalability of the solutions and compile any lessons learned for future projects.
What are some of the key benefits that companies have attained by participating in the Gothenburg Climate Partnership?
By affiliating their projects with the Gothenburg Climate Partnership, the companies obtain:
As soon as the project is initiated, we conduct an initial assessment of the climate benefit or impact.
We want to be able to communicate the positive effects as early as possible and highlight the companies willing to invest in reducing climate impact. All measurements are made using the Greenhouse Gas Protocol, which is an international, standardised method for measuring this type of impact.
Similar initiatives such as the Gothenburg Climate Partnership can be found in some other Swedish cities. These initiatives have a clear member focus, with a letter of intent, follow-up, etc. The Gothenburg Climate Partnership distinguishes itself among these initiatives and focuses more on collaborative projects with various participants. In this way, companies can come and go in the collaborative structure. The focus is more on the collaborative effects (measured in CO2) than on the companies’ internal improvements. In this way, a very clear business orientation is achieved.
Conversely, what are some of the main challenges that businesses face when trying to provide climate benefits, and how can the Gothenburg Climate Partnership facilitate and improve the quality and efficiency of the process?
A major challenge for the business sector is collaboration within and between the respective industries. Here, a neutral party with both private and public sector legitimacy is required. We are an organisation focused on taking action and creating tangible projects that produce real and substantial emission reductions through concrete collaboration. The Gothenburg Climate Partnership is not a ‘chat club’ where long-term discussions are conducted; instead, there is a clear focus on what is happening right now and how this influences the city’s climate goals. Within the Gothenburg Climate Partnership, we can achieve things that a single company acting alone cannot, with results attainable only through partnership and collaboration.
Can you give us some examples of current Gothenburg Climate Partnership projects?
Emission free construction and building sites
Construction machines generate significant carbon dioxide emissions and local air pollution and there is great potential for improvement. The overall goal of this project is to speed up the construction sector's conversion to emission-free machines, using procurement as a means of control. The project will culminate in recommendations for how public actors can formulate their procurement requirements so that sites will become emission-free. By ‘emission-free’, we mean sites where the working machines are mainly electric or hydrogen-powered. Through industry cooperation and market dialogue around set requirements in procurement, the sector will be given the right preconditions to increase knowledge, find the new working methods needed to make the shift and identify new sustainable business models. Participating project partners represent Gothenburg City, so they have a great opportunity to influence both the requirements and implementation of construction projects so that emissions are reduced.
The real estate and construction sector currently accounts for about one fifth of Sweden's climate impact and about one third of its total waste. At the same time, there are materials worth 42 billion Euros that are being discarded today when they could potentially be reused. The reuse potential of materials and solid interior products is great. There is a need for a large range of reused products and reuse sales agents, consulting, dismantling services etc. to be able to upscale the reuse.
The Innovation project ‘Reuse West’ focuses on increased reuse for a more sustainable construction and real estate industry and its 11 partners include property owners, architects, research institutes and public actors. The goal is to develop new working methods and solutions to be tested in seven practical cases for increased reuse and circular construction. The case studies include demolition, new construction, rebuilding and inventory. Within each case study, a climate calculation will be carried out with the aim of measuring the carbon dioxide effects of applying reuse. An evaluation of feasibility, reduced waste quantities and costs compared to business as usual will also be carried out.
It’s expected that each project member will have implemented new ways of working with reuse. New business models have been developed and new companies that work with reuse have started in the region. Networks and digital forms of collaboration established during Reuse West are further developed and continued to be a support for circular construction.
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