Reykjavík Ranks Third in Sustainable Destinations Worldwide Skip to content

Reykjavík Ranks Third in Sustainable Destinations Worldwide

Reykjavík has come in third place on the Global Destination Sustainability, or GDS, Index, reports. Nordic cities make up the top six spots on the Index, starting with Gothenburg, which achieved a 94% overall score, and Copenhagen, which received 90%. Reykjavík was close behind with an overall score of 89%. Oslo (86%) and Uppsala & Helsinki (84%) rounded out the top five spots.

The GDS-Index is self-described as “a collaborative business initiative” which, according to local conference organiser Meet in Reykjavík, seeks “to show potential customers the importance of sustainability at conferences and meetings held in the respective cities. The index explores the environmental policy of the cities themselves, as well as the environmental initiatives of companies that provide conference and meeting services, which in the case of Reykjavík are the members of Meet in Reykjavík (Reykjavík Convention Bureau).” The GDS-Index ranks cities based on four criteria: Environmental Performance, Social Performance, Supplier Performance, and CVB, or Convention Bureau Performance.

Reykjavík’s lowest ranking was 79%, for Social Performance. It scored highest, on the other hand, in CVB performance, which achieved a 91%. In the scoring breakdown, the Index credits this high ranking to renewable energy usage: “Given Iceland being a Pioneer in Geothermal energy with 100% of Reykjavik’s electricity and heat from renewable sources, 70% of Meet in Reykjavík employees use renewable sourced or fuel-efficient transportation. The team also recycles waste as well as sometimes spend their lunch time swimming in the North Atlantic Ocean winter and summer in Ylströndin which has received the blue flag. All profits from recycled material from the office will be donated to the Breast Cancer charity.”

Reykjavík also scored high in Supplier Performance (90%) and Environmental Performance (86%). The latter score was earned based on its aforementioned renewable energy sources, as well as the low amount of waste it sends to landfills, and how many hectares of green area it offers per 100,000 people (2,700).

“The City of Reykjavik won the Nordic Nature and Environment Prize 2014 and was awarded the Greenest city in the world by Green City Times,” writes the Index about Reykjavík’s Environmental Performance score. “The President of Iceland and the people of Iceland were presented with the first-ever Atkinson Center Award for Global Leadership in Sustainable Development for promoting the use of renewable energy while reducing its own reliance on fossil fuels…Currently there are no taxes on importation of electric cars and there is free parking in Reykjavik, resulting in substantial increase in ownership of electric cars. There has been an increase by 700% in ownership of electric cars since the first electric charger station was opened in 2014, bringing the market share of pure battery electric vehicles to 2,74%.”

This year’s ranking for Reykjavík is the same as last year, although its overall score has actually gone up. That is to say that in 2017, Reykjavík was ranked #3 on the GDS-Index, but had a lower score of 82%.

See the full Top 20 Rankings for 2018 and  country breakdown on the GDS-Index website here.

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