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#26 - Oslo, most sustainable city in the world

#26 - Oslo, most sustainable city in the world

šŸ’” One idea: Oslo, most sustainable city in the world

šŸ“ˆ One data figure: Plant-based milk, no clear climate champion

āœØ One success: Arcadia is the next generation of energy


šŸ’” Oslo, most sustainable city in the world

The 2022 Arcadis Sustainable Cities Index is out, and the winner is... Oslo! The Norwegian capital ranked first in Planet, 17th in People and 39th in Profit. The most sustainable city on Earth is also number one when it comes to supporting its breathtaking natural environment.

The Arcadis Sustainable Cities Index is a report published by the global design and consultancy firm Arcadis, which ranks the sustainability of 100 of the world's leading cities. Let's break down the key factors the index takes into account.

Oslo, such a nice place to live

Some of the criteria are the following:

  • Planet Pillar: air pollution, green spaces, waste management, energy consumption, greenhouse gas emissions, renewable energy, sustainable transport
  • People Pillar: health, education, crime, income inequality, work-life balance, reliability of public transport infrastructure, broadband, Wi-Fi availability
  • Profit Pillar: affordability, ease of doing business, GDP per capita, employment, access to reliable electricity, connectivity

Each of the three categories is further divided into several subcategories, and each city is given a score based on its performance in each of these subcategories. The overall ranking of the cities is then determined by the total score across all three categories. Here is the 2022 ranking:

The top five spots of the overall Index are occupied by a cluster of northern European capitals plus Tokyo, which comes in at number three and is the only Asian city in the overall top 25.

The Sustainable Cities Index aims to provide insight into how cities are performing in terms of sustainability, to encourage cities to prioritise sustainability in their planning and development.

The winners of the index so far were:

  • 2015: šŸ‡©šŸ‡Ŗ Frankfurt
  • 2016: šŸ‡ØšŸ‡­ Zurich
  • 2018: šŸ‡¬šŸ‡§ London
  • 2022: šŸ‡³šŸ‡“ Oslo

The Arcadis Sustainable Cities Index brags about putting prosperity before profit. According to the report itself, "cities that are performing well economically but poorly in sustainability should invest in social and environmental policies", but I would argue that they still rank high in the index. In fact, the Profit Pillar is dominated by American cities, with 19 in the top 20 (Tokyo being the 20th). Conversely, no poor city ranks high, as if being sustainable was a privilege of the wealthy. Interesting bias when we know that climate change and biodiversity loss have primarily been caused by developed economies.


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šŸ“ˆ Plant-based milk, no clear climate champion

Milk is a staple in many diets around the world, but dairy farming is a significant contributor to greenhouse gas emissions. As a result, many people are opting for plant-based milk alternatives such as soy, oat, almond, rice, and coconut. Find out more about this trend here:

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To compare the environmental impact of different milk options, researchers analysed the following metrics:

  • land use
  • greenhouse gas emissions
  • water use
  • eutrophication (the pollution of ecosystems with excess nutrients)

The results showed that cow's milk has a much higher impact than plant-based alternatives in all categories. Cow's milk generates about three times as much greenhouse gas emissions and uses around ten times as much land, and two to twenty times as much freshwater, while also causing much higher levels of eutrophication.

Environmental impact per litre of production for different kinds of milk (Science)

While all plant-based milk alternatives have a lower impact than dairy, there is no clear winner across all metrics. For example, almond milk has lower greenhouse gas emissions and land use than soy but requires more water and results in higher eutrophication. After all, it's also a matter of taste!

āœØ Arcadia is the next generation of energy

Founded in 2014, Arcadia is a US-based Climate Tech company working towards a zero-carbon economy. It has just raised $125 million in a round led by Magnetar Capital, with existing investors such as the Australian bank Macquarie. The funding will support the development of their two families of services: the Arc platform and the community solar business.

  • Community Solar. Arcadia invites renters and homeowners to join local solar farms for no extra cost to save on their power bill. The firm currently manages the largest community solar portfolio in the US, with over 1.3 GW of solar capacity.
  • Arc Platform. Arcadia provides comprehensive energy data, analytics and optimisation capabilities software. About 300 energy companies use its APIs to manage their carbon accounting reports, EV charging schedules, and rooftop solar and storage proposals.

Kiran Bhatraju, CEO of Arcadia, says that their platforms are unlocking the power of energy data worldwide, making the grid greener every day. They truly are building the next generation of energy!

Arcadia | National Offer
Save on your monthly power bill by joining a local solar farm through our partnership with Arcadia

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Thank you for reading!
ā€” Colin Rebel
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