Sustainable Malmö Top Ten

Public transport driven by food waste, housing areas with renewable energy, organic food in public schools and 500 km of bicycle lanes. Discover the Sustainable Top Ten of Malmö!

1. Sustainable urban development

(modern architecture + sustainability = true)

In the Western Harbour modern architecture is combined with ecological sustainability. Using locally produced electricity and many green spaces it is an internationally recognised symbol for sustainable urban development. The Western Harbour is a testing ground for new environmental technology, a model for the rest of Malmö. Ten years of sustainable urban development can be traced here, from Bo01, Sweden's first district with a nearly fully local renewable energy system based on the sun, wind and water, to the new generation of sustainable construction, e.g. Fullriggaren and Kappseglaren. Each part of the expansion has its own special environmental features with everything from a completely open storm water management system in the first stage, to the latest stage with waste grinders for all 600 apartments so that the organic waste can become biogas for buses and cars. Malmö's largest expansion area, Hyllie, is to be the Öresund Region's climate-smartest district. By 2020 the energy supply in Hyllie will be 100 percent provided by renewable or recycled energy. Hyllie is one of few places in the world where a large-scale smart grid is being created, that doesn't only include solutions for electricity, but also for heating and cooling. This is where the energy systems of the future are tested enabling people via smartphones to actively calculate, control and influence their own energy consumption, and also be able to produce energy themselves. It's going to be easy to live a climate-smart lifestyle in Hyllie. Low-energy houses are being constructed here, as well as development of the latest solutions within waste management, and make it easier to travel in a sustainable manner. 

2. Every fourth journey in Malmö is made using a bike

(reducing CO2 emission and noise, improved air quality and health)
Cycle, pedestrian and public transportation are to be the obvious choice for everyone in Malmö. Malmö was again awarded with the "Swedish cycle promotion town of the year" in 2015. Malmö has over 500 km of cycle tracks. Around 25 percent of the overall traffic is Malmö by bike. Around 40 percent of all business related travel in Malmö is undertaken by bike. The number of cyclists in Malmö has increased over the last ten years. If all motorists instead of taking the car instead made four return journeys per month to work by bike, the bike traffic in Malmö would increase by an additional 10 percent. In fact it doesn't take more than 20 minutes to cycle 5 km. Beautiful cycle tracks promote the integration and attracts people to visit other parts of the city than previously intended.

3. Apple-cores becoming biogas for the buses

(reducing the mountain of waste, creating sustainable energy)

Malmö is the first large city in Sweden to make a political decision that all households in the city must collect organic waste. The new system, which piloted in Augustenborg, is now implemented city-wide. All organic waste then ferments into biogas that we can run buses and cars on. Already today the city buses in Malmö runs on 100 percent renewable fuel, mainly biogas. The positive climatic effect using biogas becomes significantly greater compared to petroleum and can, incredibly, become more than 100 percent, as it doesn't just replace fossil fuels but also takes care of the waste. As a bonus there are nutritional substances left behind in the digestion residues which can be spread back over the growing fields, replacing artificial fertilizer.

4. Free school dinners for all children — soon fully organic

(better health for all children, reduced climate effect)

By 2020 all food served in Malmö's city schools, pre-schools, health & welfare will be organic and climate-smart. Today we have reached half way and over 50 percent of the food served by City of Malmö is organic. Every day in Malmö we serve around 35 000 portions of school dinners and around 15 000 pre-school dinners, all of which is free of charge for the children. The menus are planned to provide the children with good, healthy food, which is also good for our environment. In Malmö's schools there are always vegetarian options and a lot of vegetables are served on the lunch tables. One reason is that the emission of climate-affecting greenhouse gases is significantly lower per kilo for vegetables than for meat.

5. Events in Malmö to provide - not consume energy

(reduced environmental effect and better urban environment)

Concerts, festivals, culture and sports events. Most events consume loads of energy through transportation, waste, purchasing and electronic equipment. In Malmö we want to turn around that trend. We are working very hard for our events to provide positive energy for the city. Visitors to events in Malmö shall find it easy to make sustainable choices. For example, the visitor shall be able to take public transportation or cycle to the event location, the food is organic, the waste is recycled and the electricity shall be eco-labelled. When Malmö hosted the Eurovision Song Contest in 2013 we turned Malmö into a "Green Room" for all of Europe. The public section of the event was certified in compliance with ISO 20121, a tailor-made standard for sustainable events. Here are our five sustainability tips for visitors:

  • Drink our excellent Swedish tap water.
  • Recycle your waste.
  • In Malmö you're close to everything. Walk, cycle or use public transport.
  • Try out our fantastic range of places to eat. Please try a vegetarian alternative.
  • Discover Malmö's many shops with organic and ethically labelled products. 

6. Windpower in Öresund provides electricity to 60 000 households

(sustainable energy)

Malmö's steep environmental goals state that by the year 2030 the entire city shall be supplied by 100 percent renewable energy. This places big demands for creating more energy production that doesn't have too great negative environmental impact. Windpower has an enormous potential in Malmö as it's windy most of the time here. The Lillgrund windpower site in the Öresund itself produces sufficient electricity for 60 000 households. Malmö is now looking into the possibility of building both large-scale windpower, and developing urban windpower - that is, smaller windpower plants placed in the city.

7. Sweden's first Fairtrade City

(sustainable consumption)

The City of Malmö is working along procurement lines towards increasing the share of organic and ethically labelled goods, and to reduce the use of dangerous substances and chemicals. In 2006 Malmö became Sweden's first certified Fairtrade City, something that has an influence on the council's procurement and range of goods. Many of Malmö's restaurants, cafés and hotels offer their guests ethically labelled products and many shops sell fairly traded goods with everything from foodstuffs and flowers, to clothes, footballs and interior decoration.  More than 200 places of work in Malmö have made a concious decision to take ethical coffee breaks in their staff rooms.  The City of Malmö has increased its internal purchase of ethically certified coffee from 0.5 % in 2006 to 92% in 2015!

8. Many families in Malmö choose to share a car

(reduced congestion, less noise and emissions, improved air quality)

Every part of the expansion of the Western Harbour has its special environmental features, and in the fourth stage a new innovative system was launched. The number of car parking spaces are reduced in favour of a car pool which everyone who moves in can become a member of for free. This is also the case for the expanding district of Hyllie where the inhabitants get free membership of the car pool for the first five years. In Malmö a car pool is a popular alternative to owning one's own car and the demand has increased significantly over recent years. Today there are around 50 car pools in Malmö. A car pool means that several people share a number of cars with the members paying only for the time during which the car is used. When you need a car it's easy to book using your smartphone or computer, then you unlock the vehicle using your smartcard when it's time to drive off.

9. Green roofs and ponds stop flooding

(adapting to a changing climate and increases biological diversity)

The 1950's-built area of Augustenborg was hugely modern when it was built, but saw many social and technical problems in the 80's and 90's.  One of the biggest problem of all was cellar flooding. Today, this has stopped completely since we introduced a system of open storm water channels and ponds in the area. In addition we have also put up 10 000 m2 green roofs in the area which slows downs and absorbs rainwater. This is how Malmö is armouring itself ahead of coming climate change. Malmö has been awarded the Scandinavian Green Roof Award for the Augustenborg green roofs.

10. Out is in, in Malmö

(good urban environment, integration and better health)

Urban planning with focus on integration and equality. Beautiful cycle tracks through all of Malmö uniting the various districts. This promotes integration and attracts people to visit other parts of the city than previously intended. New meeting point and renovation of the Rosengård strip (between Möllevångstorget and Rosengård) increase security and safety, and allow travellers to use the strip as a sustainable transport link and meeting point. Rosen's red carpet in Rosengård has in particular involved girls in urban planning, as studies show that spontaneous sports parks and other meeting points often are used primarily by boys. The themed playgrounds attract visitors from different areas of the city. In Kroksbäck there is, for example a newly-built adventure playground and also a freestyle football pitch. The skate park at Stapelbäddsparken is another example.