Växjö – Fossil Fuel Free City

Location: Växjö, Sweden

Population: 90,721 [metropolitan area]

Climate: Oceanic

Duration: 1991 – 2030

Sector: Cross-cutting

Funding sources: Public sector

City networks: Covenant of Majors


Savings: Since 1993, the emissions of fossil carbon dioxide have been reduced by 48% per inhabitant;

Solutions: Renewable energy, energy efficiency, and green urban planning are three of several high priority methods the city implements to achieve a fossil-fuel-free Vaxjo [source].

Multiple benefits: CO2 reductions and an increase in the use of renewable energy.


Växjö is a city in southern Sweden that wants to become free from fossil fuels, and in so doing, to play a role in the global climate change struggle. In 1996, the politicians in Växjö unanimously set out the long-term vision of a fossil fuel-free city, deciding that Växjö should become this by 2030 at the latest.

Objective – To create a city where energy consumption does not lead to any climate change. The goal covers the entire geographical area, meaning that all inhabitants, companies, NGOs and public authorities have to contribute.

Solutions – Växjö’s strategy for a change to a fossil fuel-free community comprises a combination of changed behaviour, energy efficiency, and transition to renewable energy in heating, power and transport. To achieve these goals, the project includes instruments that address energy efficiency, heating and transport.

The City of Växjö works with different kinds of renewable fuels for the transport sector and, since 2013, all the buses are fuelled by locally produced biogas. There are plenty of ethanol fuel stations, one biogas station, and the infrastructure for charging electric vehicles is one of the best in south Sweden.

Funding – Växjö has managed to receive funds for many of the actions carried out under its fossil-free programme. Some of these funds have come from the national government, and others from the European Union.

Since Fossil Fuel Free Växjö is a programme covering everyone and everything within the geographical borders of Växjö, and it is constantly supplemented with new actions, it is not possible to define a budget or total cost for it. Some actions are carried out solely by private actors, while other actions are carried out by public actors (with or without national or international co-funding).

Innovation – Vaxjo was the first city in the world to set a goal of becoming fossil-fuel-free and is recognized internationally as a city that leads the world in locally-sourced renewable energy (mostly in the form of biomass, with some solar and other RE contributing as well).

Also, Växjö is a case of success where collaboration, community engagement and political leadership were crucial in addressing the ecological and economic imperatives of sustainable development, blending politics and social inclusion [source].

Success factors – Three success factors of the programme are identified by the key stakeholders.

  • All political parties agree that environmental issues, especially those concerning climate change, are very important. Political commitment and unity are therefore key factors in implementing the initiatives.
  • Växjö was one of the first cities to sign the Covenant of Mayors. Additionally, the broad cooperation between NGOs, companies, the university and the citizens has been of major importance.

Significant outcomes:

  • In 2014, 60% of the energy consumption was based on renewable energy sources such as biomass, hydropower, geothermal and solar energy;
  • In the residential sector, the use of renewable energy is 85%, and the public sector and industrial sector are well over 70%;
  • 15% of the energy in the transport sector was based on renewable sources;
  • Since 1993, the emissions of fossil carbon dioxide have been reduced by 48% per inhabitant;
  • The European Commission has appointed Växjö the European Green Leaf Award 2018 [source].

Synergies with local policies:

  • Environmental Programme 2014 sets three profile areas: Living Life, Our Nature and Fossil-Fuel-Free Växjö with targets till 2020;
  • Energy plan for Växjö Municipality 2016 establishes goals for the year 2030, with a focus on combined heat and power, energy-efficient and climate-efficient fuels for the transport sector, electricity in more energy-efficient ways for other users and applications, in addition to buildings in Växjö, as well as the improvement of energy-efficient buildings.

Political alignment:

Marketability: The concept of Fossil-Fuel-Free Växjö could be replicated in any other European city. The replicability potential is of a high level, but it also depends on having a strong commitment and a shared vision. Also, many cities in and outside Sweden have the same, or similar, climate policies, but that does not necessarily mean that the goals will be fulfilled as in Växjö.

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Sector: Cross cutting

Country / Region: Sweden

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In 1 user collection: Good practices of cities

Knowledge Object: User generated Initiative

Published by: European Union