Stockholm – leading the way in sustainability

  • Photo: Visit Stockholm
    Photo: Visit Stockholm
  • Photo: Victor Gårdsäter
    Photo: Victor Gårdsäter
  • Photo: Jeppe Wikström
    Photo: Jeppe Wikström

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.


Welcome to the first-ever European Green Capital

Stockholm was the first-ever city to be designated European Green Capital by the EU Commission in 2010. The main reason cited for the award was Stockholm’s integrated administrative system, which guarantees that environmental aspects are considered in budgets, operational planning, reporting and monitoring. In other words: just about everything that happens in Stockholm does so with sustainability in mind.


At the cutting edge of urban development

Sustainability starts at home. Stockholm’s much-publicized sustainable city concept, Hammarby Sjöstad, has come to serve as a role model for urban development projects all around the world. For the next project area, Stockholm Royal Seaport, the requirements will be even more stringent!


Sustainable transportation

There is no getting away from the fact that traveling to and from your chosen meeting venue has some environmental impact. Therefore, you’ll be pleased to hear that Stockholm-Arlanda Airport was the first airport to meet the requirements for the highest level [3+] in the assessment of environmental impact of airports in 2009. This level requires that the airport is entirely climate-neutral with respect to emissions from its own operations. In continuing efforts to optimize the whole transport chain, there will be a new commuter train connection, taking passengers directly [and swiftly] from the airport to Stockholm International Fairs, beginning December 2012. This is in addition to the already existing Arlanda Express high-speed rail link (travel time from airport terminal to Stockholm Central: 20 min). And once in Stockholm, you can take advantage of the extensive local transport system that ranks among the best in Europe.


The City of Stockholm has also declared its ambition to be fossil fuel-free by the year 2040.


A city for everyone

The vision for Stockholm in 2040 is a “Stockholm for all” with four different focus areas:

  • A Stockholm that holds together
  • A climate smart Stockholm
  • An economically sustainable Stockholm
  • A democratic sustainable 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. Read more about this here: 

Green thinking is evident in every part
of the Stockholm meeting industry


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.
  • Almost 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.
  • More than 760 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!



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

  • Stockholmsmässan offers ecological catering
  • 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)

  • 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 of the venue.

  • Stockholm City Conference Centre offers ecological catering



Stockholm’s hotels are world leading when it comes to environmental thinking.

  • The highest number of eco-labeled hotels in the world
  • Scandic Hotels is at the forefront, with all 18 hotels in Stockholm carrying the Nordic Swan Ecolabel.

  • For example, Scandic has abandoned bottled water and use only local water. The staff is trained in sustainability to use as little resources as possible.

  • Other major eco-certified hotels: Sheraton, Hilton, Radisson and the Choice hotels.


Note: The Nordic Swan Ecolabel is one of the world’s most stringent licensing systems where the applicant agrees to follow a certain criteria set outlined by the Nordic Ecolabelling in cooperation with stakeholders.

These criteria include environmental, quality and health arguments. The criteria levels promote products and services belonging to the most environmentally sound and take into account factors such as free trade and proportionality (costs vs. benefits).



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.