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Green Gothenburg Moves on Net-Zero Transport Goal

25 January 2021

Currently in development, Gothenburg Green City Zone is a world first as an initiative by a number of major stakeholders including Volvo Cars to build a climate-neutral transportation system in a large geographical area of Gothenburg. New technology will be tested here to allow this part of Gothenburg to have 100 per cent emission-free transport modes by 2030.

Gothenburg and the Gothenburg region are growing, and the number of tourists and other visitors is set to double by 2030. This will bring a steady increase in demand for transportation, while at the same time Gothenburg has committed to reducing its climate footprint to close to zero by 2030 and to providing local residents with a healthy living environment.

In order to solve that equation, large-scale testing of future technologies has begun already. That’s the background to Gothenburg Green City Zone, where a fully climate-neutral and zero-emissions transportation system is now being developed for a large area of central Gothenburg and surrounding districts. 


“Being able to test new ideas will be decisive for reducing climate emissions at the rate required. Zero-emission zones are a brilliant example of how we can reduce climate emissions while at the same time pushing for sustainable business development”


– Emmyly Bönfors
Chair, City of Gothenburg’s Environmental and Climate Committee


The zone can be likened to a vast testbed and demonstration area where companies, social stakeholders, academia and institutions can collaborate on testing new technologies and scaling up their operations, products and services in transportation, infrastructure, energy and other areas related to the environment. Last year, visitors were invited to a virtual tour of its award-winning buildings, where the latest innovations in smart technology were demonstrated. This included the HSB Living Lab, a sustainable habitation infrastructure for students and guest researchers. It is a social space and laboratory consisting of 44 cubic modules with 29 apartments.

The goal is for all vehicles travelling in or from Gothenburg Green City Zone to run with zero emissions by 2030, in a functioning infrastructure that enables climate-neutral transportation choices and facilitates everyday life for businesses as well as residents and visitors, in an attractive urban environment. It is a pioneering undertaking for a whole area to achieve such sustainability. Many individual organisations have made headway on similar goals, such as Mitie passing its target of switching 20 per cent of its cars and small vans to electric last year, ahead of schedule. Claire Walmsley-Moss, Head of Marketing at Planet Mark, recently reiterated that making the change to more renewable transportation power is one of the key principles to fighting the climate emergency.


A Zone of Possibilities, Not Limitations


Gothenburg Green City Zone is keen to illustrate that it is not a zone of bans or restrictions, where they stop certain types of transports and send them elsewhere. Instead it’s a zone of possibilities, for making use of each other’s specialities and skills in order to achieve the goal faster and with more vigour. As a result, entirely new business opportunities are opening up for national as well as international companies.

The initiative was taken jointly by the City of Gothenburg, Volvo Cars, and RISE Research Institutes of Sweden. Interest and involvement in Gothenburg Green City Zone has been great, with Chalmers University of Technology, the School of Business, Economics and Law at the University of Gothenburg, the Swedish Exhibition and Congress Centre, the City of Mölndal and Johanneberg Science Park on board so far. 

There will be many more partnerships – Gothenburg Green City Zone is an inclusive venture that welcomes everyone who wants to take part, in whatever way, in creating sustainable solutions for the Gothenburg region, and in spreading them to the wider world.


World First for Zero-Emission Transport Solutions


Gothenburg is already at the cutting edge in research and development generally, but particularly so in sustainable development. This position is the result of a long tradition of successful collaborations between the city, the region, businesses, academia and citizens.

With Gothenburg Green City Zone, Gothenburg will become the first region in the world to develop fully zero-emission as well as scalable transportation solutions at the system level.


Voices on Gothenburg Green City Zone


“In Gothenburg Green City Zone the city and the business and research communities will work together to make the transportation system emission-free in a very short time. With this collaboration we will take the lead on sustainability issues in Europe as well as show that we are serious about the city’s climate contract with the EU and about our ambitious sustainability goals for 2030,” says Axel Josefson, chair of Gothenburg’s City Executive Board.

“Being able to test new ideas will be decisive for reducing climate emissions at the rate required. Zero-emission zones are a brilliant example of how we can reduce climate emissions while at the same time pushing for sustainable business development,” says Emmyly Bönfors, chair of the City of Gothenburg’s Environmental and Climate Committee.

“This initiative is fully in line with our company’s purpose,” said Håkan Samuelsson, chief executive of Volvo Cars. “We want to be involved in creating the cities of the future and keep them livable. This initiative gives us an opportunity to do that and take on responsibility in our own hometown at the same time.”

“Climate-neutral transportation of people and goods is crucial for our future cities. With Gothenburg Green City Zone we can show this together as well as try out new solutions in order to understand what works for people, society and businesses,” says Pia Sandvik, CEO of RISE.

“The spirit of collaboration which has become a signature of how we do things in Gothenburg has paved the way for yet another step forward in innovation and sustainability. We welcome businesses from all over the world to join in this collaboration, working together to create innovative transport solutions for the cities of the future, here and now,” says Patrik Andersson, CEO of Business Region Göteborg.


Picture: Gothenburg Port on the Göta älv river.

Article written by Bailey Sparkes | Published 25 January 2021


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