Reykjavík Ranks Third in Sustainable Destinations Worldwide

Reykjavík has come in third place on the Global Destination Sustainability, or GDS, Index, turisti.is 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.

Women’s Football Team Maintains Top 25 Ranking

The Icelandic women’s national football team has maintained its top 25 ranking among national women’s teams worldwide, RÚV reports. Iceland is currently ranked 22nd with 1,798 total points.

Iceland overtook Austria in the rankings by one point, but Belgium then overtook both countries. As such, Iceland did not actually shift position at all in the rankings. The team is, however, three spots lower in the rankings than it was in September 2018, just after it missed out on qualifying for the 2019 Women’s World Cup. At that time, the team was ranked 19th in the world.

The United States’ women’s national team is currently in first place, with 2,123 points, followed by Germany (2,057), France (2,046), England (2,021), and Canada (2,006). The remaining top ten teams are Australia, the Netherlands, Japan, Sweden, and Brazil. Ukraine and Russia round out the top 24 teams in 24th and 25th place respectively.

See the full top 50 FIFA rankings here.

Iceland Has Highest Per-Capita CO2 Emissions in EU and EFTA

Iceland has the highest per capita carbon dioxide emissions when all the economies in the EU and EFTA are compared side-by-side. This result came forth in a recent report issued by Statistics Iceland, which compared data from 2016.

Iceland’s CO2 emissions have increased significantly since 2014, which was the last time they were compared with those in the EU and EFTA areas. From 2008-2014, Iceland was ranked third or fourth in per-capita CO2 emissions, but they have increased since then due to “increased activity in air and marine transport,” as well as metal production.

“Other economies with high per capita emissions are Luxembourg, Denmark and Estonia,” the report continues. “Emissions per capita within these countries have been between 13 and 19 tonnes of carbon dioxide per capita. Emissions per capita within the region have, in general, been decreasing since 2008, and the majority of countries have reached approximately 9 tonnes per capita with few countries showing significantly lower values. Iceland is the only country among the countries ranked above 20 which has shown a significant increase in per capita emissions since 2008.”

As of 2016, Iceland’s CO2 emissions are 16.9 tonnes per capita, up from 15.5 in 2015, and 13.9 in 2014. Iceland’s emissions were actually on a downward trend between 2008 and 2012, going from 14.6 tonnes per capita to 13.3. But they began to rise again in 2013.

The report notes that “[t]he economies at the top of the list have economic segments which dominate their emissions. The majority of emissions from the economy of Luxembourg come from the air transport section, both air cargo and passenger transportation. Marine transport is the dominating sector for the Danish economy, which is home to the world’s largest shipping company. In 2016, only 15% of Estonian power generation came from a renewable source, which makes this sector the dominant emitter with the economy. Estonia produces 93% of their energy needs, which is the highest portion within the EU.” Emissions from the Icelandic economy derive primarily from two sectors, the report continues: “…air transportation and the production of basic metals. Emissions from metal production in Iceland are due to consumption of graphite in electrodes rather than from fuel combustion.”

When comparing household emissions, Iceland also ranks higher than its Nordic neighbors in CO2 emissions, and has since 2008. “The highest value was 1.96 tonnes per capita in 2007, but the value reached 1.64 tonnes per capita in 2014, which is a lowering by 19%. Emissions from 1.64 tonnes of carbon dioxide is similar to a mid-sized family car that is driven 8,000 km.”

“Danish households have reduced their emissions most from 2008, or by 0.33 tonnes per capita,” the report notes, and so have Icelandic households. However, even so, “…the value for 2016 is still higher than what was calculated for 1995.” The report notes that “[t]he increase in emissions from 1995 to 2007 resembles the general trend for household spending in the years prior to the economic collapse of 2008. The reduction post collapse is also somewhat reflected in the emission trends, but renewal of the household car fleet didn’t start until a few years after the crash.” The outlook isn’t entirely pessimistic, however: “It can be estimated that electrification of the car fleet will further reduce the household emissions after 2016.”

See the full report, in English, here.

Men’s Team Down 10 Spots in FIFA Rankings

The Icelandic men’s national football team is down 10 spots in the latest FIFA/Coca-Cola World Ranking, sitting in 32nd place. RÚV reported first.

The team has enjoyed great success recently, qualifying for their first ever World Cup tournament last fall, and reaching a record 18th place ranking in February 2018. The team currently sits just behind Iran and ahead of Ukraine.

The Icelandic women’s national team held on to their 19th place spot in the latest rankings, on the heels of Switzerland, in 18th place, and ahead of New Zealand, in 20th.