More than just climate protection:
Freiburg‘s sustainability process
It is with some justification that Freiburg regards itself as one of the birthplaces of the environmental movement. Freiburg‘s sustainability process began as far back as the 1970s with the successful action against the Wyhl nuclear power plant, one of the founding myths of the alternative-green movement. This was then continued by socio-civic initiatives that formed part of the „Local Agenda 21“ process and the signing of the Aalborg Commitments, as well as the associated
sustainability targets set by the Freiburg Sustainability Council and adopted by the Municipal Council in 2009, which form the basis for any political action.
The Sustainability Management unit was set up at the start of 2011 as a coordination and central control offi ce, to systematically develop the ‚green profile‘ of the City of Freiburg for the future. Reporting directly to the Lord Mayor, its role involves developing an integrated sustainability management policy to steer the city‘s overall urban sustainability process, pooling experiences and acquiring new skills to meet future challenges.
A wealth of projects and the innumerable activities and initiatives that help to implement Freiburg‘s sustainability targets, attest to the city‘s comprehensive commitment to sustainable development. For its commitment, the city of Freiburg was honoured with the German Sustainability Award in 2012, presented for the fi rst time to towns and municipalities, as the most sustainable city in Germany. The prize was awarded specifi cally to refl ect the city‘s unique sustainability infrastructure, comprising the Sustainability Management unit reporting to the Lord Mayor, as well as the commitment of urban societies, offi ces and agencies combined with an active body of citizens.
Freiburg is regarded today as a model for the reconciliation of „soft“ ecology and „hard“ economics. Environmental policy, solar technology, sustainability and climate protection have become the drivers of economic and political growth along with urban development. And yet, what matters even more than prizes and global back-slapping, is the fact that the people of Freiburg identify strongly with this policy and their city.