On October 18th we hosted our first Nordic Community Event with Felix Ockborn, Sustainability Strategist at Tyresö kommun, who have recently published their fully digital Climate Action Plan (CAP) with ClimateOS! Here you can see the plan itself, and here you can read our case study about Tyresö. Below is a short summary of the event.
City participant list: Borås, Göteborg, Karlstad, Malmö, Östersund, Skövde, Umeå.
Tyresö municipality is located around 20 kilometers south of Stockholm. One can say it consists of ⅓ green spaces (eight natural reserves and one national park) ⅓ blue surface (lakes and oceans) and ⅓ inhabited area(ca 48 000 inhabitants). During the past 18 months, Tyresö has gone from having separate and static planning documents with insufficient links and clarity between goals, actions, and implementation to a consolidated, dynamic, and living plan which has been developed in close dialogue with stakeholders – from local businesses to high schoolers.
The event centered on the challenges Tyresö faced in taking a leap and establishing fully digital climate planning and the solutions found to make it happen. Following are some of the common themes identified through the interactive discussion with other city leaders from Sweden, with examples from Tyresö on how they worked through them.
Data quality – ‘Taking responsibility for the emissions of those who live, work or spend time in Tyresö’
Climate planning starts with data, and finding the right data sets is often perceived as a blocker to developing a meaningful CAP.
When laying the groundwork for their digital plan, Tyresö had to start from scratch, there was a carbon budget but local data had and build their plan from there. This included tackling questions regarding the limitations of territorial emissions: should Tyresö, a satellite municipality to Stockholm, include emissions for the whole commute (averaging 30-40km/day) of its inhabitants or just the section carried out within their administrative boundaries (circa 25% of the above number)? In their case, it meant including the emissions from the entirety of these trips, a conclusion regarded as the most responsible approach.
Felix also provided valuable insight on how missing data might be sourced locally: By labeling missing data points as research motivated, it tends to help it on the priority list, e.g. in university research projects.
Convincing politicians and leaders – ‘Depending on which glasses we wear, we’ll see different things’
To become truly ubiquitous, a CAP needs to be accepted by politicians, city officials, and citizens alike. For Tyresö, the framework of Transition Elements helped in communicating both the why and how of ClimateOS to stakeholders. E.g. ‘we should not stop traveling altogether, but we need to shift how we travel’. Felix highlighted the importance of having backing from at least some part of the administration to get started and expand buy-in. In Tyresö, the Municipal planning office (Samhällsbyggnadskontoret) and local politicians were the first to sign onto the vision of a fully digital CAP. With their support, the CAP could be developed to a stage where the municipal government (Kommunledningen) was able to see its value and support its adoption.
However, work needed to be done around convincing political leadership of the multifaceted use of ClimateOS, going much beyond being a simple reporting tool but rather a platform to set targets in and monitor progress. Other questions that were relevant to Tyresö included: How does one go about archiving the plan, considering it is a public document and subject to certain standards? How to work with accessibility, so that the plan is available for all to view and interact with?
Human Resource Allocation
Many cities face challenges when it comes to human resources for the often extensive work needed to populate emission inventories, create action plans and monitor execution.. Using ClimateOS, Felix with the help of an intern, created the whole plan from start to finish within 18 months. The timeline and resources needed will of course differ depending on the characteristics of the city, but Tyresö provides an illustrative example.
How to finance the purchase of a digital tool like ClimateOS? For Tyresö, this discussion centered around the alternative costs of not using the ClimateOS platform. Sourcing individual solutions for visualization, cross-departmental communication, and emissions management added up to required resources that are not present within the organization and were regarded as too costly.
Changing governance and document structures
Municipal administrations have rigid and often quite complex governance structures where it can be challenging to find the right place to host a Climate Action Plan. This was a challenge in Tyresö as well, and there is no one way of solving this problem. However, Felix emphasized that no given structure should block trailblazing climate action simply because a digital CAP does not fit these document hierarchies.