City climate financing is a hot topic. The sentiment among city climate strategists is that investing as soon as possible will save money in the long-term. So perhaps it comes as no surprise that over 170+ participants – from four continents – joined an online event to explore how to make climate investment planning doable.
That is exactly what happened in Helsingborg in 2021, when the city was in the process of applying to join the EU Mission for 100 Climate-Neutral and Smart Cities. "When I first heard of climate investment planning my first reaction was, 'Wow, this is not going to be easy. Where do we even start, right?' Niklas Bäckström, Financial Controller, City of Helsingborg begins.
"But then I got to talking with Elin and Milou who introduced me to ClimateOS - it visualised the data in a way that amazed me. Then I thought, 'Well maybe this isn’t impossible after all.'"
Climate Investment Plans are a critical new deliverable in the effort to accelerate city transitions, not least by the EU Cities Mission. So, how did Helsingborg create a costed Climate Action Plan with co-benefits in multiple city sectors?
It takes an iterative approach and an openness for innovation. In Helsingborg, Elin Sundqvist is the city's Environmental Strategist, and Milou Mandolin is the Climate Strategist. Together with Niklas and a steering group, they coordinated the application and later the climate investment planning process.
"Developing a climate investment plan was very new to us and in the beginning we thought it would take a very long time. But once we broke it down and built on what we already knew about our emissions and actions, it became doable." Elin Sundqvist, Environmental Strategist, City of Helsingborg, continues. Their motto "start small, deliver big" began right there.
Helsingborg linked their emission goals to their financial instruments and their sustainability-linked bonds. Short term, that means that "if we don't reach our emission targets we will pay higher interest rates on our issued bonds. And this will send a signal to investors that we will take our emission targets seriously and create incentives for us to contribute to emission reduction" Niklas concludes.
"Helsingborg has everything gathered in one place." Fredrik Uddenfeldt, VP Product Vision at ClimateView, continues. "But what does that mean? It means that it is easier to collaborate and involve other colleagues to improve the plan – because the plan will never be done. It’s going to evolve all the way until 2030." This means that Helsingborg can iterate quickly with everything in one place and as a result, Helsingborg is well-positioned to meet its ambitious climate goals. It's safe to say that coffee chat was worth it.
At the event 'How Helsingborg is creating the first city climate investment plan' on December 1, Helsingborg shared their Climate Investment Plan journey to 170+ participants, concluding with a Q&A session.
Explore the Q&A: here.
Access the full recording of the event: