Annie Kristi Korsmo, Visit Oslo’s director of conventions, shares what it took — and what it means — to be named European Green Capital 2019 by the European Commission.
After being shortlisted three times in the past, this year Oslo was named European Green Capital 2019. Here, Annie Kristi Korsmo, Visit Oslo’s director of conventions, explains the sustainability initiatives that helped the Norwegian capital earn this distinction — bestowed annually by the European Commission — and reveals what being green means to the city.
Reducing Oslo’s environmental footprint is a high priority for our local government and our people. We understand that sustainability is achieved through close collaboration, so our local authorities, businesses, NGOs, and the city’s population are all cooperating. The most important factors considered by the European Commission when judging the European Green Capital are waste management, biodiversity, local transport, noise pollution, and the creation of green jobs. We set very high standards. For example, the city has ambitious plans to cut CO2 emissions by 50% by 2020 and to become carbon neutral by 2050.
To have won Green Capital City 2019 feels amazing and puts Oslo on the map! Sustainability focus is on everybody’s lips. It is a subject in the global media in different levels, and I think this is a topic that will only become more and more important when choosing a venue or destination. Prior to this success, we have already experienced an increase in the need to provide evidence and information on our city’s green focus. Due to this, Visit Oslo CVB has started a project with Invasion Norway, where we aim to be able to certify Oslo as a sustainable meetings destination by the end of 2019.
It’s important that we do all we can to save the global environment, which in itself is entirely worthwhile, but the benefit of being the European Green Capital City and achieving other sustainability benchmarks are increases in business proposals and developments, and an increase in events — especially within sustainability events. The Urban Future Congress is an example of an event which has chosen Oslo due to the city’s Green Capital award and sustainability focus. Indeed, this award makes Oslo a very relevant destination as well as a practical case study for conferences and events dealing with sustainability issues.
We are very proud of our people, our city, and our achievements. In a world where the future hangs in the balance of a global climate effort, we are proud to do our part and we look forward to promoting our city for future events and inspiring other to follow our lead.