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European Green Capital 2021

The city of Lahti, Finland, has been voted this year's European Green Capital and is well on the way to being carbon-neutral by 2025. If the city achieves this goal, it will be 10 years ahead of Finland’s similar target and 25 years ahead of the EU.

The city's aspirations are beautifully illustrated by the new strip for the Lahti Pelicans, their ice hockey team. It's determined to become the world’s first carbon-neutral hockey club and, in a bid to showcase the city’s sustainability efforts, the club has just replaced its jersey numbers with environmental facts about the city.

The club's new strip features numbers like “70%” to signify the city’s emissions reduction since the 1990s; the number “2019” to call attention to Lahti’s coal-free status since 2019; as well as “2025” to share Lahti’s target of achieving carbon neutrality by 2025.

“Lahti Pelicans wants to be a pioneer both in the rink and outside of it,” said Casimir Jürgens, a defensive player on the team. “We believe that action against climate change plays a decisive role in the future existence of our planet.”

On top of promoting its city’s environmental feats, the club has been taking measures of its own to cut carbon emissions. Among these is the team’s decision of giving up air travel as well as encouraging fans to travel to local matches on foot, bikes, or public transportation. Not only that, but the team’s ice hockey arena is powered solely by renewable energy, and the restaurants there only sell locally produced foods with plastic-free packaging.

“The match for the environment must be won together. We want to encourage and embolden everyone to get involved with their own contribution to climate change action,” said Jürgens.

Lahti is a small city of about 120,000 people. It's the smallest city to be awarded the European Green City title, with previous awards given to larger cities like Stockholm, Oslo and Copenhagen.

“No matter how big or small, we all can make a difference. That’s why in addition to carbon neutrality, Lahti aims to be a completely waste-free circular economy city by 2050,” says Saara Vauramo, the programme director of Lahti European Green Capital.


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