Photo: Visit Stockholm
Photo: Visit Stockholm

Stockholm – leading the way in sustainability

In a world where green is the new black, many gloss over the real issues with pretty words. But real sustainability is not a quick fix. At least not in the first ever European Green Capital.


A broader definition of sustainability
Sustainability is undoubtedly the buzzword of the world’s meeting industry, with more and more destinations offering so called “green meetings”. But real sustainability can’t be achieved by focusing on the meetings themselves. Not even if factors such as accommodations and transports are factored in. Actual sustainability can only result from a much more holistic approach where every aspect of environmental, economic and social impact is part of the equation. That’s why factors such as freedom from corruption, equality and labor legislation are equally important to consider when choosing a meeting destination. Then - and only then - can the true meaning of sustainability, and indeed green meetings, be realized.

Did you know...?

  • 100% of the energy used by the City of Stockholm´s own operations comes from renewable sources.
  • 99% of Stockholm´s solid waste is recycled.
  • Almost 80% of all hotels in Stockholm are sustainability accredited by third-party certifying bodies.
  • Stockholm has one of the cleanest (and tastiest) tap waters in the world. No need to buy bottled water.
  • Stockholm has 1/3 green area, 1/3 water, 1/3 built area.
  • Stockholm Arlanda Airport has a ISO14001 certification.
  • Stockholm has a goal to be a fossil-fuel free city by 2040.

Green thinking is evident in every part of the Stockholm hospitality such as; transports, venues, hotels and activities.

Transport to and from the city

Stockholm-Arlanda Airport – the world’s leading sustainable airport:

  • Best practice in responsible aviation globally.
  • The first airport in the world to be accredited the highest level in a European program that grades the environmental impact of airports.
  • “Green approaches” – a system permitting approaching aircraft to descend continuously from cruising altitude to the runway, using almost no engine thrust, thereby saving fuel and reducing emissions. 

Sustainable transport from the airport to downtown Stockholm:

  • The fast and never delayed Arlanda Express high speed train.
  • Eco-labelled airport shuttles (bio gas/ethanol buses). Fossil free since 2010.
  • Commuter trains
  • 50 % of all taxis are eco-taxis, which have their own queue in front of the other taxis.
  • Congestion tolls to reduce traffic into the city.

Transports within the city

  • It is safe and easy to travel by public transport.
  • The largest venues are only 10 minutes away from the Central Station by commuter train.
  • Well maintained and modern subway, trams and commuter trains.
  • Bio-fueled taxis and buses.
  • 900 km of bicycle lanes and a community bicycle program that allows renting one of the program’s 1000 bicycles.
  • Or walk – still the best and most beautiful way to get around in compact and cozy Stockholm!

Hotels

Stockholm’s hotels are world leading when it comes to environmental thinking. Almost 80% of all hotels in Stockholm are sustainability accredited by third-party certifying bodies. In our listing, accommodation, the majority of all hotels have a sustainability certification.

Restaurants

Stockholm has many restaurants with sustainability in focus. Here are some examples:
Hermans- A popular vegetarian buffé on top of Södermalms highest point with a view over both water and islands.
Rosendals trädgård- Food based on vegetation from their own garden. You can also come here to stroll between the magnificent flower arrangements!
Fotografiska museet (photograph museum) - Here the plant proudly stands in focus, sometimes even literally. 2017 it received a reward for the best museum restaurant worldwide.
K-märkt- focus on reducing the food waste by selling it by the weight.
Meatballs for the people close to Medborgarplatsen has to offer with their strong value of local farmers. They serve a dozen different types made by examples bear, moose, wild boar and veal from all over Sweden.

Sustainable meeting venues

The leading meeting venues in Stockholm offer a variety of sustainable solutions

Stockholmsmässan – first venue in Stockholm with an ISO 20121 certificate for Sustainable Events. 
Kistamässan – an environmentally approved venue – has a number of solutions for saving energy (such as fast-closing doors in the exhibition hall, energy saving lamps and reduced lighting during setup and breakdown).
Stockholm Waterfront – the most innovative in the sustainable/environmental field is the Stockholm Waterfront Congress Centre. It’s built from recycled building materials, has sun cells on the roof and unique energy-saving solutions for heating and cooling. The venue is certified by the Green Key. Green Key is a leading international environmental certification body, designed specifically for the hotel and meetings industries.
Stockholm City Conference Centre – certified by the Nordic Swan Ecolabel.
The Brewery – makes a sincere effort to decrease their carbon footprint as much as possible. Sustainable thinking is an important factor to their operation at large. Certified by the Nordic Swan Ecolabel.

Activities

Stockholm, with its clean environment, clean waters, clean air and low levels of noise pollution, is the perfect place for extracurricular activities.

  • Nature and the ever-present, clean (and portable!) waters of Stockholm are an important part of any visit to Stockholm.
  • Wide range of activities within the city: running, kayaking, swimming, fishing, bike riding, skiing, long distance skating and hiking.
  • The accessible unique archipelago.  

Reliable lookouts

To help you orientate in your new destination, keep an extra eye out for these labels. They benefit both the environment, society and your health!

Svanen (green swan label) work as an environmental audit to estimate the lifecycle on products and services
Rainforest Alliance to protect eco-system
MSC (Marine Stewardship Council) for sustainable fishing
KRAV for sustainable production
Fairtrade High economic and social standard for workers
GOTS (Global Organic Textile Standard)

Great initiatives:

Kranmärkt -Choose tap water instead of bottled water when you organize your event and use the “Kranmärkt” label.
Hållbara restauranger -Sustainable network for restaurants that want to improve their work with sustainability.
Matalliansen -Initiative to provide events and meetings with more sustainable options.
Karma -Karma is a Swedish startup founded in Stockholm in 2016. The app connects surplus food from restaurants, cafes and grocery stores to consumers for a lower price. With Karma, over 295 tons of food has been rescued, instead of ending up in the bin.
Sustainable Meet Stockholm - is a collaborative marketing project within sustainable small and medium meetings and events. A private initiative with partners from the Stockholm travel industry including hotels, key meeting and event venues, attractions and incoming operators – in close cooperation with the city of Stockholm.

Global Destination Sustainability Index

Stockholm was one of the destinations that co-founded the ICCA Scandinavia Sustainability Index, today called the Global Destinations Sustainability Index, assessing and reporting on the sustainability performance of destinations around the world. The GDS-Index is aligned with the 2030 Agenda, and the aim is to integrate the 17 sustainable development goals into the management and strategies for destinations globally

If you want some good advice organizing your event, check the City of Stockholm's sustainability guide.