Facts - Lahti


What is the European Green Capital?

The European Green Capital Award (EGCA) is a competition for cities, organised by the European Commission. The title is given to one city at a time for one year for merits in pioneering environmental actions, setting an example for other cities and developing innovative solutions to environmental challenges. Before Lahti, 11 European cities have received this title.

European Green Capitals

2010 Stockholm 2015 Bristol 2020 Lissabon
2011 Hamburg 2016 Ljubljana 2021 Lahti
2012 Vitoria-Gasteiz 2017 Essen 2022 Grenoble
2013 Nantes 2018 Nijmegen
2014 Copenhagen 2019 Oslo

The goals and benefits of Lahti's Green Capital year

  • Smooth green life contributing to wellbeing
  • The best environmental solutions for sustainable cities
  • The European Green Capital visibility

The programme and events of the year are built around four themes – carbon-neutral life, circular economy, participation, as well as nature and water. You can learn more about the themes presented on this page as well as our environmental solutions from the application for the Green Capital year.

What if your city did what Lahti is doing?

Lahti has a shared vision of a bold green city, and our goals are:

  • Become a carbon-neutral city by 2025
  • Cut down greenhouse gas emissions by 80% compared to the level of 1990 by 2025.
  • Become a zero-waste circular economy city by 2050.
  • Protect the nature and the valuable surface water and groundwater areas.
  • Encourage people to use sustainable modes of transport: walking, cycling, public transport, or why not skiing!

Carbon-neutral Lahti

Finland will be carbon-neutral by 2035, while Lahti ten years earlier

Our ambitious goal is to become a carbon-neutral city already by 2025. We are making a concrete effort to reach this goal every day – together with the residents, companies and the entire city corporation. We have already cut down our greenhouse gas emissions by 70% compared to the level of 1990.

Lahti is a green city, and thanks to the investments it has made, it is easy for our citizens to live a carbon-neutral life. We are the first in the world to make personal mobility emissions trading possible for citizens, and we also make environmentally friendly mobility easier.

The 1.5-degree lifestyle is also made possible by environmentally friendly energy: in the spring of 2019, we abandoned the use of coal. Lahti is now heated with recycled fuel as well as local, certified wood. New, sustainable food models and low-carbon construction are also developed actively in our area.

Eco-deeds on the ice: The most environmentally friendly ice hockey will be played in Lahti in the future. Lahti Pelicans aims to be the world’s first carbon-neutral hockey team.

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Citizen participation

Let’s create the Green Capital together!

The residents of Lahti play an important role in the making of the Green Capital year. We develop environmentally friendly solutions that promote smooth everyday life and give everyone the chance to participate in environmental work. We increase the citizens’ opportunities to participate in the decision-making and coming up with new ideas with new kinds of inclusive projects.

We have developed a unique approach to transport and land use planning. The inclusive process in Lahti combines the city plan, the Sustainable Urban Mobility Plan (SUMP) as well as the environmental and service programmes.

We invite the citizens of Lahti to join us in coming up with new ideas for our shared Green Capital year 2021. The first projects and events for residents have already brought joy to the people of Lahti. We are opening a rolling project funding application round for communities, companies and research institutes. And as a Green Capital ambassador, you can tell the story of Lahti to your own networks.

Made together: In Lahti, everyone participates in making the city more sustainable. In the Lahti Block Party, the people of Lahti built a greener city by planting herbs and flowers.

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Pilleri jäteasema

Circular economy

In Lahti, waste is raw material

Lahti is a pioneer in circular economy. At the moment, we recycle more than 99% of household waste: one third is used to make recycled materials and the other two thirds are used to produce energy. In 2017, we introduced the first regional roadmap for circular economy in Finland.

Our circular economy expertise creates growth-oriented business. As a Green Capital, we develop new models that can be copied by others for sustainable consumption and manufacturing products in accordance with the circular economy. The aim is to achieve a high material recycling rate and reduce the environmental load.

Environmental goals and business meet in the ecosystem of the Kujala waste management centre, which is a unique example of circular economy. The companies benefit from the cooperation – and each other’s side stream products, knowledge and expertise.

Consume wisely – recycle efficiently: The development of waste management has been a long-term project in the Lahti region. The circular economy is seen in the everyday lives of Lahti residents in the form of active sorting of waste.

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Hoitokalastus Vesijärvellä

Nature and water

It all started with water

The journey of Lahti becoming the Green Capital already started with the restoration of Lake Vesijärvi in the 1970s. Cleaning up the badly polluted lake created a foundation for the environmental expertise and research in Lahti. The restoration of Lake Vesijärvi has set an example for others: our treatment model has been used in the restoration of more than a thousand Finnish water bodies.

The unique nature in Lahti offers a wide variety of opportunities for hiking in 24 protected areas: 74% of our area is covered by forest, while 11% consists of bodies of water. We are the only Finnish city built on an internationally significant groundwater area. The best tap water in the world, filtered and purified naturally by the Salpausselkä ridges, is an everyday luxury for the people of Lahti.

On the Salpausselkä ridge system, you can enjoy the scenery formed by the ice age round the year. As a part of the Salpausselkä Geopark project, the knowledge of nature is transferred to the future generations. In fact, environmental education plays an important role in all schools and day care centres in Lahti.

Close to nature: In the nature of Lahti, you can experience the lake scenery, bogs, tops of ridges and forests in their natural state. You can also enjoy the biodiversity of urban nature close to the city centre.

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CityCAP in a Nutshell

The goals of the CitiCAP (citizens’ cap and trade co-created) project are to reduce emissions from transport and collect and make available digital data on mobility and transportation.
The project develops a model for personal carbon trading on mobility and an application for the citizens that enables real-time tracking and visualization of one’s mobility carbon footprint.The application can be downloaded from Play Store and App Store

Read more about CitiCAP