How to manage the legion of climate actions in a Green Capital City?
Lahti has been an environmentally active city since the 1970's, when the city started to clean up a severely polluted nearby lake. Successful environmental actions have raised ambitious generations, and the city administration takes responsibility for the quality of the surroundings.
It was only a natural step for Lahti to apply for the status of the Green Capital of Europe. The process inspired to develop a comprehensive climate action plan and set a target that was unimaginable only a few years earlier: to become a climate-neutral city by 2025. But as Lahti received the nomination, they were even more committed to achieve this goal.
However, a major problem needed to be addressed. All those numerous actions have to be implemented with a strict schedule and various key partners.
How to organise all this and get all parties informed?
Creating a wide network is the most effective way to follow, implement, and report about climate actions.
Lahti’s climate plan contained 113 actions. Each action was allocated to one or more contact persons from the city team that best knew about that particular action. All this information was organised in Kausal Watch.
It was soon found out that the contact person network was invaluable: some teams were unaware of the specific actions the city board had planned to implement, and these omissions were identified when the contact person network was set up. Also, the contact persons were motivated when they could see the full picture of climate work and their role in it.
Often it is difficult to activate and inform a large loose network (75 contact persons in case of Lahti).
“I was happy to notice that people learned more about their tasks and were very motivated. This was due to the clarity of tasks and responsibilities brought by Kausal Watch,” tells the environmental coordinator Aino Kulonen.
When it comes to delegating responsibilities, some team leaders wanted to take a lot of actions to themselves. This proved unproductive, because it increases the risk of not having enough time for the tasks. Kulonen noticed that it is better to have more people with less tasks in the network, and it is easy to manage even a large network by using Kausal Watch.
The people who work most closely with climate actions are the best experts and they should be given the possibility to tell about their work.
“Lahti Environmental Watch drew wide positive attention within the city organisation - as many as 150 of our employees joined an intro session about the new service”
In Lahti, there have been thoughts about spreading the use of the platform to areas other than the climate. This is easy to do if so decided.