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European Green Capital Award

European Green Capital Award 2015


Bristol’s year as European Green Capital was a a city-wide initiative with many organisations involved, and to facilitate this a new company was established – Bristol 2015 Ltd.

Bristol 2015 Ltd worked closely with Bristol City Council, the Bristol Green Capital Partnership and directly with UK, EU and international partners who included educational and arts and cultural institutions, business networks, visitor and tourism bodies and many more. As a short term company with an independent board, Bristol 2015 raised funds, planned and delivered a programme with key strategic partners in the city – providing a platform for the year to raise the profile of the existing work and innovation in the city.

Bristol Green Capital Partnership also featured in the ‘Bristol Method’, created by Bristol 2015 Company in collaboration with city organisations and individuals. The Bristol Method is a knowledge-transfer programme aimed at helping people in other cities understand and apply the lessons that Bristol has learned in becoming a more sustainable city, not just in 2015 but over the last decade.

During 2015, Bristol Green Capital Partnership engaged with members and facilitated collaboration through events, projects and groups as well as supporting Bristol 2015 by sharing information, news and opportunities to its members and wider audiences. Read more about Partnership activities in 2015 here. In 2014 and 2015, membership of the Partnership grew by 62% to over 800 organisations – learn more about membership here.

Bristol Green Capital Partnership CIC was supported by Bristol 2015 Ltd. in 2014/2015 to become a legacy organisation for Green Capital, and announced a new future for the independent Community Interest Company in January 2016 to ensure civic leadership for the city beyond 2015.

Read the Bristol 2015 Ltd produced review of Bristol’s year as European Green Capital

Visit the Bristol 2015 website for news and stories from the year

History of the Award

The aim of the award is to support and motivate European cities to improve their environment by awarding those that are making active and innovative efforts to achieve a more sustainable and healthy environment. These cities are already rewarded through the progress they make, but the European Green Capital award is intended to formally recognise their work and hopefully spur cities on to commit themselves to further environmental initiatives to become ‘Green Cities – Fit For Life’.

The European Green Capital award is the outcome of an initiative taken by cities with a green vision and the concept was devised at a meeting in Tallinn, Estonia, held on 15 May 2006, on the initiative of Tallinn’s former mayor, Mr Jüri Ratas.

Once a year as of 2010 a European city will be awarded the title of European Green Capital by a panel of environmental experts. The experts award the title to a European city that has successfully introduced concrete and innovative improvements to its urban environment.

Children leaping into the harbour bath at Islands Brygge - Sharing Copenhagen 2014 #sharingcph

Children leaping into the harbour bath at Islands Brygge – Sharing Copenhagen 2014 #sharingcph

Previous and future winners of the award include:

  • 2010 – Stockholm, Sweeden
  • 2011 – Hamburg, Germany
  • 2012 – Vitoria-Gasteiz, Spain
  • 2013 – Nantes, France
  • 2014 – Copenhagen, Denmark
  • 2015 – Bristol, UK
  • 2016 – Ljubljana, Slovenia
  • 2017 – Essen, Germany

Why Bristol?

On the third attempt, Bristol was awarded 2015 Green Capital status as a city that can:

  • Demonstrate a well-established record of achieving high environmental standards
  • Commit to ongoing and ambitious goals for further environmental improvement and sustainable development
  • Be a role model – part of an ever growing group of cities that aim to inspire and promote best practices to all European cities.

The award was made based on a technical assessment and independent evaluation, based on a bid that was submitted by Bristol City Council and Bristol Green Capital Partnership. Bristol Green Capital Partnership was instrumental in helping Bristol win the European Green Capital Award, pulling together the work, impact and expertise of the city’s hundreds of grassroots projects, businesses, community organisations and two universities. You can read the bid in full here.

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