Member in the Spotlight
Augsburg is the third largest city in the German federal state of Bavaria, with 270,000 inhabitants. One of the oldest German cities with roots in the Roman Empire, Augsburg has since been one of the most important players throughout Germany’s history, particularly during the Middle Ages and the Renaissance, when it was a Free Imperial City. This has left Augsburg with a wealth of historical buildings including palaces and places of worship. Today, Augsburg is known as a high-tech industrial centre, with numerous companies in the aeronautics, transport and printing industries based in the city.
The city has a range of indicators available on its environmental website which demonstrate the progress made in delivering a more sustainable future for Augsburg. Daily water consumption per capita has fallen from a high of 120 litres in 2003 to 111 litres in 2012. This equates to a reduction of 2.7 million litres every day. The proportion of electricity generated from renewable sources has also increased sharply, from 3.6 percent in 2003 to 7.8 percent in 2011. Finally, an increasing number of vehicles in the city are fuelled using natural gas, which burns more cleanly than petrol or diesel. The entire municipal fleet of buses in Augsburg is fuelled with natural gas, which comprises 30 percent of all buses operating in the city.
Sustainability focus: Green economy
Augsburg’s commitment to sustainability extends beyond the activities and policies of the municipal government. It entails encouraging the growth of companies providing environmentally friendly goods and services and improving the sustainability of already established businesses. In awarding the German Sustainability Award 2013 to Augsburg, the jury made specific mention of the city’s attempts to attract and promote green jobs.
The city is pushing sustainable public procurement to the fore, implementing commitments on procuring energy efficient IT hardware and insisting that suppliers do not use child labour anywhere in their supply chains. Regarding the procurement of paper supplies by municipal departments, at least 75 percent must come from recycled sources, and the remainder from sustainably managed forests certified by the standards set by FSC or PEFC. The city also has a procurement management team, providing information and advice across municipal departments to spread the procurement of sustainable products and services.
Within the local construction sector, subsidies and grants are available for the construction and retrofitting of buildings according to environmental standards. Augsburg has eligibility rules which take into account energy efficiency, land use, building materials, heating and other areas relevant to sustainability. Since 2005 grants have been approved for 2700 residential units.
A working group on Corporate Social Responsibility (CSR) was set up in December 2012, consisting of business leaders and economic experts from the Augsburg area and working in cooperation with the municipality. It aims to further spread CSR and to empower managing directors, sustainability officers and other corporate leaders in the regional economy to become ‘Pioneers of Change’. The working group accomplishes its goal by organising and delivering events and seminars on sustainable business, networking within the business community in Augsburg, and developing advisory material to help businesses turn principles into practice.
- Augsburg won the prestigious Deutscher Nachhaltigkeitspreis (German Sustainability Award) in November 2013, beating fellow contenders Dortmund and Mainz in the large city category.
- Eighty percent of businesses in the city are certified by at least one of the following internationally recognised sustainability schemes: ISO 14001, EMAS (Eco-Management and Audit Scheme), Ökoprofit and QuB.
- Augsburg has also developed its own sustainability award, entitled the Augsburger Zukunftspreis, which has been running since 2006. The award celebrates actions that contribute towards sustainability.
“Municipal governments are pioneers in miniature worldwide. As cities and communities, civil society initiatives and companies have at their disposal comparatively the shortest decision-making process, they can make concrete steps towards transformation and necessary change. A diverse urban society creates innovations, which politics alone cannot deliver. We need these local attempts and solutions: sustainable development must be available locally. In Augsburg we have a multitude of successful projects, which contribute to sustainable development in social, environmental, economical and cultural regards. Sustainability and climate protection are not just words to Augsburg, but are connected to each other and have become a binding demand. For more than 17 years we have integrated the different efforts of urban society, economy, politics and administration into a sustainability process, with a sustainability program and through this Sustainability Award.”
Dr Kurt Gribl,
Lord Mayor, Augsburg