Lappeenranta was one of the 14 best cities in the international WWF Earth Hour City Challenge, participating as the only city in Finland. All in all, more than 160 cities from 14 countries participated in the challenge that measured the participants' actions to address climate change for instance in energy production and transport.
The results were published on 27 March in Vancouver, Canada. The winner was the City of Cape Town, South Africa.
Hanna-Liisa Kangas, Senior Climate Officer in WWF Finland, commends Lappeenranta for making it in the top 14 in this challenge, competing against for instance Copenhagen, Stockholm, Seoul and Edmonton. This is an outstanding achievement.
Director Ilkka Räsänen of Lappeenranta Region's Environmental office says that this international recognition is extremely valuable for the City of Lappeenranta and its residents.
“It feels incredibly good that local work receives such international recognition. The residents of Lappeenranta and students living here have all contributed to our success. We have expert enthusiastic actors such as the Lappeenranta University of Technology (LUT), Kaukaan Voima Oy, one of Finland's largest bioenergy plants, and a large number of growth companies. International recognition encourages even closer cooperation,” says Räsänen.
A total of 4591 public votes for Lappeenranta
Lappeenranta received a total of 4591 votes from the general public during the challenge: in addition to 4210 actual votes, Lappeenranta received 129 Tweets, 171 Instagrams and 81 suggestions for improvement.
Mirka Rahman, Head of Marketing Communications for the City of Lappeenranta, appreciates local cooperation and the votes of local residents and tourists alike. She extends special thanks to the prominent campaigning of the LUT in particular.
“In addition to the lovely images on Instagram and the “This is a good place to live” recognitions, the city also received concrete ideas for further development. A quarter of the proposals advocate a more comprehensive and easier-to-access public transportation system for Lappeenranta. We will be able to grant this wish in early May with the introduction of the new, less expensive and more comprehensive public transport ticket products. Ideas for development also highlighted more broad-based sorting of waste, bicycle routes and city bike rental,” says Rahman.
Pioneering investor in renewable energy
Director Ilkka Räsänen of Lappeenranta Region's Environmental Office emphasises that the participation of city residents is vital for creating a green Lappeenranta for the future. Residents are encouraged to get involved by providing advice on energy issues, as well as through the Green Energy Showroom networking project and the protection of the Pien-Saimaa area, the activities of which cover the entire South Karelia region. Some schools in Lappeenranta are involved in the international Green Flag Schools programme.
“A clean living environment and sustainable well-being make Lappeenranta a comfortable place for residents and tourists to enjoy, and commit to setting up local businesses here,” says Ilkka Räsänen.
Lappeenranta has made considerable investments in the exploitation and research of wind and solar energy in recent years. Lappeenranta University of Technology offers the most versatile selection of university-level research and education in the energy sector, with renewable energy development as one of the focus areas.
Lappeenranta has reduced emissions by switching to bioenergy and hydrogen production for district heating. The use of public transport is also increasing, and investments in solar energy are being made by various sectors. In addition, a more compact urban infrastructure reduces mobility needs.
One of the goals of the Lappeenranta 2028 strategy is to develop Lappeenranta into a model city for eco action in which having a clean living environment and a zero-waste world are sources of innovative business growth.
Another development goal for Lappeenranta is to make the city a testing ground for eco-friendly innovations, such as the ongoing construction of the Kivisalmi pumping station and the new hybrid bus, which was developed to meet future public transport needs.
FOR MORE INFORMATION, PLEASE CONTACT:
Director of Environment Services Ilkka Räsänen, tel. +358 40 081 5284, firstname.lastname@example.org
Head of Marketing Communications Mirka Rahman, email@example.com, +358 40 849 9161
Lappeenranta is an international university and tourist center in a logistically important region in South-East Finland, near the border between the EU and Russia. The Lappeenranta University of Technology (LUT), the innovative operating environment, skilled workforce and good networks in a city of around 72,000 residents make it easier to start up and expand international business operations. Lappeenranta is easy to reach thanks to its international airport. The clean environment and magnificent nature offer unforgettable experiences at the shores of Lake Saimaa.
The photo shows solar panels on the roof of Lappeenranta University of Technology (LUT) building. Photo by Teemu Leinonen, LUT.