The city of Lahti was selected as a 2021 European Green Capital, as a first city in Finland to be awarded this title. Lahti has for years been recognized for its thriving, multi-sector green cluster.
Lahti has a population of about 120000, and is a traditional industrial centre. There are some aspect of a ”rust belt”, as the economy was heavily impacted by the collapse of the Soviet Union and the following depression in the 90’s. As a result the unemployment rate has been above average.
Lahti has seen success in diversifying its economy of late, and can be examined as an example of what is termed ecological reconstruction.
The city is however no newcomer to environmental protection and cleantech. The project to save the badly polluted Lake Vesijärvi started in 1970’s, and decades of work have produced a lot of expertise and hands-on knowledge of environmental projects and technology.
Today there are 130 cleantech businesses employing 5000 professionals.
These days 97% of municipal waste is reused, most of it burned cleanly to produce central heating and electricity. Coal was phased out completely in 2019.
The goal is to be carbon neutral by 2025.