Introduction to. Aalborg s Sustainability Strategy

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1 Introduction to Aalborg s Sustainability Strategy

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3 Foreword Aalborg should be a sustainable municipality, which will be to the benefit of local citizens, businesses and the environment. With the signing of the Aalborg Charter in 1994 and the Aalborg Commitments in 2004, a policy framework for the sustainable development of Aalborg was developed. The Sustainability Strategy, , is a unifying localised approach to sustainable development. It will be used across all municipality sectors. All aspects of the Strategy are based on environmental, social and economic sustainability. Sustainable development is future orientated and requires long-term planning and effort. It is also necessary to coordinate planning and efforts in the present time. The Sustainability Strategy therefore contains both long and short-term strategies and focus areas. 3

4 Visions for a sustainable Aalborg Aalborg s Sustainability DNA 1. Holistic thinking: Accommodate sustainable thinking across sectors 2. Sustainable skills: Collaboration between city, citizens and businesses promotes responsible behaviour 3. Partnerships: Private and public sectors are partners in the sustainable transition 4. Identity: Enhance sustainability through events, culture and tourism 4

5 Visions for a sustainable Aalborg The Sustainability Strategy, , outlines Aalborg s approach to achieving a natural and environmentally sustainable transition. The Strategy contains 6 main themes that indicate how Aalborg will promote a natural and environmentally sustainable transition. Each of the themes is embedded within the Aalborg Process and incorporates the key strategies and focus areas necessary to move Aalborg in a sustainable direction. Focus areas will be implemented by relevant departments either through existing plans or alternatively by adopting new action plans. This brochure is an introduction to the full Sustainability Strategy. To view the full Strategy and its Implementation Catalogue (in Danish) please visit Aalborg Municipality s website at: The 6 Themes: 1. Sustainable City and Housing 2. Sustainable Mobility 3. Sustainable Utilities Supply 4. Sustainability and Society 5. Sustainable Business and the Green Transition 6. Sustainability in Nature and the Environment 5

6 Sustainable City and Housing We shall be sustainable in the city and surrounding areas It is essential that the city and its surrounding areas are sustainable and attractive settings for people. A framework will be developed that accounts for impact on climate, environment and nature. Design, building and construction could cover several needs, including socialising, exercise, relaxation areas and nature experiences. The promotion of health and the well-being of citizens is paramount. It is also important to ensure that citizens have good quality lives, healthy housing and access to vibrant green spaces. Aalborg should be structured, planned, built and managed using a long term perspective. The focus should be on sustainable solutions and total economy. Viability in the long term is characterised by architecturally sound constructions and by buildings with long life spans. 6

7 Aalborg s focus areas include: promoting and documenting biodiversity alongside urban and housing developments designing urban spaces that stimulate the desire to take part in health-promoting activities handling rainwater in all urban development and construction projects so account is taken of climate change and of helping to increase biodiversity or other sustainability themes encouraging healthy, energy-efficient building projects in close collaboration with the construction industry, with a particular focus on growth 7

8 Sustainable Mobility We shall promote healthy and sustainable transport with a reduced impact on climate and the environment Congestion acts as a barrier to visitors, making it less likely that they will spend time in the city. The development of Aalborg as an attractive place is therefore dependent on a good and efficient transport infrastructure. This applies to both passenger and freight modes of transport. It should be easy to get to and from Aalborg. Sustainable mobility is about creating an infrastructure that stimulates green transportation choices. This ensures an efficient flow of traffic with the least possible impact on energy consumption and the environment. For public transport it is about improving bus options, ensuring that buses can get through traffic quickly and increasing the number of departures made in areas with potential passengers. Lastly, Aalborg will promote itself as a cycling city. The city s cycling infrastructure should therefore be improved, expanded and made more attractive to use. Aalborg s focus areas include: reducing car traffic, especially short trips (less than 5 km) participating in a preliminary analysis of light rail in Aalborg cooperating with the private sector to create infrastructure and incentives towards using sustainable types of vehicles introducing campaigns on sustainable mobility for children and young people 8

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10 Sustainable Utilities Supply Supplies of gas, electricity, heat, water and disposal of sewage and waste should be achieved using minimum energy and resources and by using the most sustainable technology Use of energy is an essential basis for a modern society. It is important that utilities companies are able to provide safe energy and clean water. Companies should also be able to handle rainwater, sewage and waste in ways friendly to the environment and climate. Aalborg plans to be a fossil-fuel free municipality by It additionally intends to ensure the provision of safe drinking water for future generations. In regard to the sewage in Aalborg, there are plans to connect all of it into the separate sewage system. This means that sewage and groundwater are handled in separate sewers. By adopting this method the increased rainfall expected with global warming can be dissipated more easily. Finally, Aalborg will pursue a policy of recycling, waste prevention and waste recovery. Aalborg s focus areas include: introducing energy and environmental management in municipal administrations ensuring groundwater for drinking is good quality making certain that rainwater is discharged locally managing waste by maximising the use of resources increasing knowledge about energy savings and waste management strengthening cooperation and partnerships with the public and private sector on energy and resource savings 10

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12 Sustainability and Society All parts of the community, including individuals, organisations and companies, should be able to participate in the green transition It should be easy for people to act sustainably and to develop personal responsibility for the green transition. The municipality must meet with citizens to disseminate sustainability knowledge. In a green transition there is a balance in the ecological cycle, resources are not consumed faster than they are restored, and the city is an attractive and healthy place to live. In order to achieve this it is important to ensure that citizens participate in, and influence, the decision-making process. The municipality benefits from the input and knowledge of private citizens. Aalborg s focus areas include: furthering the share of organic food used in local kitchens, canteens and institutions to 60% by 2020 creating a plan for the development and coordination of information and campaigns concerning sustainability increasing the provision of information to Aalborg citizens and visitors establishing an electronic platform as a communicative tool for local citizens to discuss the sustainable transition 12

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14 Sustainable Business and the Green Transition There should be a competitive local economy based on increased sustainability As a business-friendly municipality it is important that Aalborg strategically, and in terms of investment, focuses on green growth. By doing so, it remains an attractive and competitive city, acting as an engine of growth for northern Denmark. Aalborg has both well-established companies and new enterprises which provide sustainable products and solutions in the energy sector, ITC, construction and other industries. The skills these companies and enterprises possess can be utilised. Aalborg will therefore seek to assist stakeholders to cooperate in sharing practical and procedural knowledge. Businesses should be able to easily recruit local people with sustainability skills. Aalborg will strengthen cooperation with industry, job centres and schools to assist in enabling the workforce to upgrade its skills. It is necessary to boost expertise and know-how in areas such as corporate social responsibility, cradle-to-cradle resource management, and climate and energy efficiency. Equally important is achieving independence from fossil fuels and non-renewable materials. These prepare businesses to become competitive within their parameters. 14

15 Aalborg s focus areas include: creating local initiatives on job training opportunities with a focus on sustainability promoting sustainable agriculture, including increased production of organic products expanding the Network for Sustainable Business Development by offering membership to 50% of the pollution-intensive industries in order to help them with environment and resource management beginning a Green Job Bank with unemployed people who have or will upgrade their sustainability skills 15

16 Sustainability in Nature and the Environment Aalborg s vision is to promote a more natural environment and to increase biodiversity An overuse of the landscape through extensive use of drainage, land cultivation, use of chemical fertilisers and pesticides, and land withdrawal to cities and roads, means that nature is broken up into small, disjointed units. This scattered environment affects animal and plant survival negatively. It is important, therefore, to look at the larger context, and to plan how water resources and natural areas can be secured. and businesses in order to establish and preserve natural habitats on municipal and private land. Consideration of the natural world must be incorporated within urban development through, for example, development of green spaces, green facades and by providing green areas and natural waterways. There is a need to create more natural areas in the municipality. This is of importance to Aalborg s climate adaptation, public health and handling of rainwater. It also contributes to ensuring biodiversity. Making efforts to preserve and create a versatile natural environment may include cooperating with schools, citizens 16

17 Aalborg s focus areas include: restoring and protecting streams and lakes and their organic compounds involving schools in restoration projects and in adopting ponds and streams carrying out the planning of green areas in urban areas and villages initiating by 2013 an annual reduction of discharges of nitrogen and phosphorus to the Limfjord made by surrounding areas and towns ensuring by 2013 that authorisation is not granted for excessive emissions of hazardous substances into the aquatic environment 17

18 Aalborg s International Role Aalborg has a major role within the international sustainability movement In 1992 world leaders developed the Agenda 21 initiative during the UN s Rio Earth Summit. In 1994 European municipality leaders and organisations assembled in Aalborg, Denmark, to discuss taking that agenda to the European local level. The consequence of this was the launch of the European Sustainable Cities and Towns Campaign (ESCT), and the adoption of the European Cities and Towns Towards Sustainability Charter, commonly referred to as the Aalborg Charter. So far approximately 3000 municipalities have signed the Aalborg Charter. Ten years later in 2004 at the 4th ESCT, European leaders again met in Aalborg. The purpose was to develop a common understanding of sustainability, and as a consequence to develop a framework to be used at the local level that would better articulate how to embed sustainability across municipality sectors. The outcome was the Aalborg Commitments which encompass 10 shared, holistic sustainable development pledges. Nearly 700 local governments have so far endorsed the Commitments. The Austrian municipality of Sankt Aegidi is the latest of these, having signed in January The next stage of the Aalborg Process begins at the 7th ESCT in Geneva, Switzerland. The city of Aalborg, partnered by ICLEI, is launching a new modern web portal. The new enterprise will act as a networking and information device, with the objective of incorporating European, national and local sustainability onto a single, organised and straightforward platform. The platform should become the most prominent mechanism in Europe for accessing news, information and knowledge about the transition to sustainability. 18

19 The 10 Aalborg Commitments 1. Governance to increase citizens participation with all spheres of governance 2. Urban management to formulate management schemes aimed at improving urban sustainability. 3. Natural common goods to preserve natural common goods. 4. Responsible consumption to promote sustainable consumer habits. 5. Planning and design to address environmental, social, economic and health issues. 6. Better mobility to promote sustainable transport. 7. Local action for health to protect the health of citizens. 8. Sustainable local economy to create employment without damaging the environment. 9. Social equity and justice to secure inclusive and supportive communities 10. Local to global to act to improve sustainability beyond the European Union. 19

20 Implementation of Aalborg s Sustainability Strategy, This introduction to the Sustainability Strategy, , indicates some of Aalborg s strategies and focus areas. The remaining strategies and focus areas are available to view online. The Strategy is based on key principles and on the Aalborg Process. It is common to Aalborg and will be applied across all departments so that sustainability is anchored in everything the municipality does. An Implementation Catalogue is to be included with the Strategy. This places professional and financial responsibility across the various municipality departments. An annual status report will also be prepared. This will indicate the progress made by municipal sectors and will eventually detail specific sustainability indicators for the on-going documentation of Aalborg s sustainable development. Sundhed og Bæredygtig Udvilkling Rantzausgade Aalborg Tlf

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