Sunday, February 13, 2011

Hamburg starts into 2011 as the European Green Capital




Northern German city demonstrates how economic and ecological objectives can be reconciled

Dubai, 13 February 2011 – In the framework of the Green Capital year, Hamburg's businesses have
underlined their commitment to sustainability. The Hamburg Chamber of Commerce recently hosted
an event called the “Sustainable Economy Summit”. On the occasion, 700 enterprises from Hamburg
committed their support of the Green Capital idea and presented a declaration on sustainability and the
economy, in order to show how businesses increasingly aim to combine ecology, economy and social
responsibility. The “Eco-Partnership” network, established in 2003, serves as an umbrella organisation
for all climate- and environment-protection activities of companies based in the city. Thanks to the energy
efficiency measures applied in this realm, the enterprises that participate have already been able to save
more than 100,000 tons of carbon dioxide, which corresponds to around 16 million euros in operating
costs, according to the Hamburg Chamber of Commerce.

The northern German city of Hamburg has been awarded the title of “European Green Capital 2011”
by the European Commission. Through a set of different measures, the shipping hub proves how,
despite being a highly industrialised port city, it is possible to successfully combine economic growth and
environmental sustainability. The year has kicked off with several initiatives which could be an interesting
source of inspiration for the United Arab Emirates, a regional leader in its efforts to develop a sustainable
business model and greener cities in the future.

The city’s approach overall is especially interesting because Hamburg is a dynamic economic metropolis
that realised it had to act in the field environmental protection as well, in order to stay competitive. Herlind
Gundelach, head of Hamburg’s Ministry for Urban Development and the Environment, underlined the
city’s efforts by saying that “as a major industrial region, comprising Europe’s third biggest port, Hamburg
faces considerable challenges as regards environmental protection. It is therefore our turn and our duty
to strategically link the economic and the ecological spheres”. During 2011, as many citizens as possible
are going to be encouraged to get involved in the measures devised in the framework of Hamburg as
Europe’s Green Capital.

The start of the Green Capital year has been marked since the beginning of January with the opening
of several exhibitions. Other events included arts performances, panel discussions and a celebratory
opening event for the general public in front of the town hall. Other projects include for example plans for
the sustainable extension of the public transport system and for a canopy to be set up to cover the A7
motorway in the heart of the city. In addition, large-scale urban development projects, such as “HafenCity
Hamburg”, the International Building Exhibition IBA 2013 and the International Garden Show igs 2013
serve to show how sustainable city planning can work in a busy metropolis as well.

Further emphasising its ambitions, Hamburg has already made many big commitments to the field of
renewable energy, which is the city’s fastest-growing economic sector. For instance, 60 percent of the
know-how available on wind energy in worldwide is located in Hamburg and the neighbouring South
of Denmark. Moreover, the world's largest wind turbine company, Vestas, has recently relocated its
Central Europe division to Hamburg. Also, one of the world's leading wind power plant suppliers, the
Nordex Group has built a new facility at the port, in cooperation with the public energy supplier “Hamburg
Energie”. The goal of the latter is to deliver only that type of electricity to Hamburg’s citizens, which
is carbon neutral and free of nuclear power. This field is intended to be one of the most important
components of the city’s strategy, which has set a goal that is unique worldwide – namely to reduce
Hamburg’s CO2 emissions by 40 percent by 2020, while staying competitive and economically
successful. This initiative could be viewed with a lot of interest across the Middle East, and in particular in
the United Arab Emirates, where per capita CO2 emission rates stand at one of the highest levels in the
world, while maintaining its thriving business scene is also vital to the economy of the Emirates.


Moreover, various other wind and solar companies are working on increasing their presence in Hamburg
over the next few years, further emphasising the city’s efforts. Furthermore, German company Siemens,
which opened its European headquarters for wind power sales and project execution in Hamburg in 2009,
also acted as a sponsor of the initiative “Hamburg – European Green Capital”. In addition, the northern
German hub is also expected to become home to the headquarters of the environmental organisation
Greenpeace.

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