Taking Responsibility: Towards Fossil Fuel Free Operations

Supporting the ambitious national and European commitments to tackle climate change, the Municipality of Lund has set clear, necessary targets to reduce greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions in municipal operations and the while community. The plan is to switch to renewable energy and achieve carbon neutrality. With the local government taking responsibility to implement a co-designed strategy, several key stakeholders are involved and key to making this work.  This case explores how to look at different system boundaries: geographical versus administrative, but also looking at emission sources and behavior of stakeholders.


Lund is a growing city located in Sweden‘s largest agricultural district, in the south-west of Sweden, in the province of Scania. Its university is ranked among the leading universities in the world, and has become a centre for high-tech industry in the south of Sweden. Lund is governed by Lund Municipality, which is responsible for the city of Lund, as well as nearby settlements including Dalby, Södra Sandby and Veberöd, and the surrounding countryside.


From low to zero emissions

In 2010 Lund Municipality committed to an ambitious target of halving the city’s GHG emissions by 2020, and by 2050 to be close to zero emissions, compared to 1990 levels. This was in response to the challenge “100% Fossil Fuel Free Skåne 2020” set by the regional government. The aim is to achieve 100% fossil fuel-free electricity, with at least 90% fossil-fuel-free heating and 50% fossil-fuel-free transport systems within municipal operations.


Defining the framework

To achieve the targets several comprehensive plans were developed, namely:

  • “LundaMaTs”: Lund’s environmentally adapted transport plan, aiming for Lund to continue to be a leader in sustainable mobility by creating more effective and sustainable transport systems and by focusing even more on the development of public transportation in its planning, as well as better conditions for pedestrians and cyclists;
  • Energy Plan: addressing energy efficiency, increased self-sufficiency using renewable energy, and spreading  knowledge on  sustainable energy. The plan is annually monitored and was created in coordination with others to reduce overlaps and avoid inconsistencies;
  • Environmental Management System Plan;
  • LundaEko”: the city’s programme for sustainable development, which specifies environmental priorities based on Sweden’s national environmental goals;
  • Action plan to achieve fossil-fuel-free government operations: considering the share of fossil use in the organization, it defines a list of measures for implementation, with timelines and responsible departments.


Involving local stakeholders

The implementation of action plans is the responsibility of departments within the local government, but also requires cooperation with others actors such as companies, neighboring municipalities and service users.

One example: The municipality’s district heating network is used by two other municipalities. This requires collective planning and implementation, because any change in one location will affect the whole network.  To this end, the Energy Plan was defined with the participation of different municipal departments and external stakeholders, including the Region of Skåne (regional government), academia,  contractors, energy companies/organizations and other municipalities. Each contributed to co-designing the approach, also gaining an understanding of each other’s perspectives. Here the administrative and geographical boundaries are relevant, as are the governing entities – 3 municipalities. However, it is important to also consider the sources of  GHG emissions, which is linked to behavior of  stakeholders such as residents and businesses. To illustrate this in the context of using electricity, the local government plans and deploys infrastructure and renewable energy resources with energy efficiency measures. Yet, the reduction of the energy use is ultimately dependent on behavior change of people. Here citizens and businesses need to understand what to do, why and how.  


Energy company

Lund Municipality plays several key roles which are relevant to the energy transition. It is the majority owner of the energy utility, owner and user of municipal facilities, but also a provider of information to local stakeholders, a mobilizer and collaborative partner, and the entity with the authority to drive local planning and implement environmental legislation.

As such, the wide range of measures implemented by the municipality is diverse. Each action requires a specific role for the local government – sometimes as a leader, a driver, a concept developer or a partner. It explores its role when developing green infrastructure, such as using renewable energy for local electricity generation and in district heating, identifying and using residual heat waste, acquiring clean fuel vehicles for the municipal fleet, and identifying and implementing energy efficiency measures in various sectors.

A key role is informing and enabling city residents to make more sustainable choices, by providing tools and proper infrastructure. This for example includes a solar map “Solkartan developed in cooperation with the regional government and academia to show where solar photovoltaics (PV) can be used. Likewise the municipality is renewing the public transport system that is designed on the premise that people will move to access things that they do not have at the place they are, and as such the design of the physical infrastructure is coordinated with the city development department.

Climate actions are co-developed to find sustainable solutions, by civil society, the private sector and academia, with the local government.  They have used innovation processes, identifying challenges and needs, which are to be solved in partnership. An example of this is the initiative “Future by Lund”, looking into smart and sustainable city approaches addressing energy, mobility, and the digital world, among others. has the objective to minimize climate impact, balance the use of high-quality soil, and maximize the positive experiences of urban life. Several civil society awareness raising schemes are implemented, using competitions, dialogues, and other methods to involve different stakeholder groups including the youth, elderly, business, politicians and academics.

Support for local govrnments is also available through different networks, such as the Swedish Klimatkommunerna, a national network that supports municipalities and counties in tackling climate change. Lund is one of its founding municipalities. Lund’s Climate Alliance is a network that supports businesses addressing climate issues, helping them to see the value of knowledge exchange.

Support is also provided through financial schemes such as grants and bonds for eligible projects to which municipal departments can apply to.

As a level of government, Lund Municipality can also use regulations. Lund implements parking norms that encourage less car usage and imposing fines on transport fuels for municipal use according to their fossil content. The income generated is directed to a climate fund to invest in local climate action.

Through these and many other climate actions, local leadership combined with a well-established and coordinated strategy, the local government has positioned Lund firmly on the path to achieving its ambitious climate commitments, while bringing the community together in pursuit of a common goal.



Lund has seen a reduction of 47% in carbon dioxide equivalent (CO2e) emissions between 1990 and 2014, despite a 30% population increase in this timeframe.


Climate Actors